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New Pearl City Volleyball Coach And Alum Eager For Fall Play

The summer weeks without a match to prepare for wear long on coaches in the volleyball community, and new Pearl City head coach Bryan Camello can relate. Count him among those anxious to officially open fall camp this week in preparation for the 2013 season.

“The summer drags – it’s been a long one,” said Camello, who returned to his alma mater in May to take over the girls program. “We’re excited to get the season started and get down to business.”

In contrast to the slow pace in May, June and most of July, the OIA regular season does not drag on. If anything, the full fall is akin to a sprint rather than a marathon. For Camello, that makes it easy to feel a sense of urgency every day. “Kids have other obligations during summer, but now we get to get down to the work,” he said. “The season only lasts 13 weeks from the beginning to the state tournament, so hopefully we’ll hit the ground running.”

For his part, Camello is a longtime coach of the sport, having spent a highly successful run at Roosevelt from 1997 to 2007 as girls varsity coach, in addition to his work at Impact Hawaii Volleyball Club. Under his watch, Roosevelt established itself as one of the OIA volleyball elite. The Rough Riders advanced to the state quarterfinals in 2003, took second in the OIA and reached the state semifinals in 2005 and won their first league championship since 1979 the following year.

Camello’s returnees were part of a Pearl City team that finished 11-7 overall last fall under Kory Toyozaki, who is now the head coach at Aiea. The Chargers took second to Mililani in the OIA Red West’s regular season and finished sixth overall at the conference’s post-season tournament, earning one of the league’s berths for the state tournament.

Among Camello’s first priorities at Pearl City, from which he graduated in 1990, was hiring his coaching staff, which now includes Mele Yamashiro, Davis Kagawa, Nate Cambra, Natasha Fong and Kent Kudo. “We were lucky to assemble the staff we have. They’ve gelled together, and the kids have slowly been coming around.”

Camello is building around seniors Nai Kapua (middle blocker/outside hitter), Cara Aiwohi (outside hitter), Momi Carter (setter) and Britani Pascua (outside hitter). “They all have different strengths and weaknesses, but their attitudes are good, and they have athletic bodies, Nai is consistent, and the kids look at her as a leader. She’s a very athletic kid. Cara is another athletic kid who can do a lot of things.

“Momi is coachable, with a good attitude,” he added of Carter. “Britani is pretty solid all-around, and she’s physical.”

Pearl City’s public unveiling is set for Aug. 8, 9 and 10 when it plays in the Kamehameha Pre-Season Tournament. Camello’s team opens its OIA West slate Aug. 28 against Radford at home.