New Coach Plus Freshman Setter = Good Charger VB So Far

As the Pearl City volleyball team enters the straight away of its OIA season, the emphasis is less on the opponent and entirely on the Chargers themselves, according to head coach Bryan Camello.

“We have to focus on what we can control, which is ourselves, and that means starting fast, playing with a purpose, and trusting each other,” said Camello, whose team was 3-2 through its first five league matches. “We’re into the meat of our schedule. The middle of the season can be a grind for the kids before that last push at the end.”

The Chargers begin a key three-game stretch today (Sept. 25) at Leilehua. A match at Waianae follows on Saturday with a much-anticipated match at Nanakuli next Wednesday. That will conclude the regular season, and the outcome of all three matches should figure big in the Chargers’ playoff seeding – not to mention its quest to enter the post-season with some momentum. The schedule also included critical matches late last week against Kapolei and on Saturday against Aiea, teams that were a combined 7-2 at press time.

“There’s no rest with Leilehua and Nanakuli, which looks to be pretty formidable, and Waianae,” Camello said. “We have to find creative ways to keep focused. The kids have been working hard and coming around.”

The Chargers have depended heavily to date on a senior class of middle blocker/outside hitter NaiKapua, outside hitter Cara Aiwohi, setter Momi Carter and outside hitter Britani Pascua. “Cara and Brit have been stepping it up, Nai and Momi, too,” he said of his veterans. “Everybody has been making progress.”

Newcomer Exxie Enos, a freshman setter, has emerged as one of the state’s top up-and-coming performers, meanwhile, and figures to be in the mix for All-Conference honors at season’s end. “She’s been doing a lot and making a big impact for us. She’s consistently come up big for us. She’s been doing a really good job. She brings a lot of spunk and energy, and she has a really good attitude.”

Pearl City’s wins came versus Radford, Waipahu and Waialua, while its losses came against Mililani and Campbell.

Camello is in his first season with the Chargers after taking over the program in the off-season. He had a highly successful run as Roosevelt’s head coach in recent years. Transition issues are often a by-product of a coach’s first year, but the Chargers showed no signs of it with a 3-0 start to league play.

“Every day we go into the gym, we’re getting better,” Camello said. “We’re starting to implement more of our system and putting more things in now. Everyone is buying into the system. It’s slowly coming. The biggest thing is we have to be ready for the playoffs.”