Trojan Girls Volleyball Team Turns Adversity To Success

The Mililani girls volleyball team may have been regrouping at fall camp, but three months later, it has the look of a more seasoned OIA team.

Adversity has a way of maturing a team quickly, and the Trojans have faced their share, in head coach Val Crabbe’s view.

Because of heavy losses to graduation and injuries, the team has spent most of 2014 with only 10 players. That the Trojans took a 7-1 record into the last six days of the season is a testament to their ability.

“They’ve done extremely well in staying positive and focused,” said Crabbe. “The biggest thing is that they’ve hung together. We lost two (returnees in Dominque Carter and Kaysie Cornelio) before the regular season began. We’ve had to work through it. With 10 players, it’s tough from a practice perspective.”

The Trojans were to close out the season against Waialua late last Thursday and Nanakuli Tuesday. The Waialua game, which Crabbe characterized as “huge,” would serve as Senior Night for the departing 2014 class. Mililani entered last Thursday’s action tied with Nanakuli atop the West standings. Also on the line for the Trojans over the past week was a first-round bye for the OIA tournament, which begins next week. The Trojans must finish first or second in the West to ensure one of the two top seeds.

OIA went to a new format for its post-season tournament, cutting out the double-elimination format that had been part of the first round. Teams no longer can lose on the first day and take the back-door route to qualify for states.

“It’s a one(loss)-and-done kind of a deal now — that concerns me,” said Crabbe.

With a small roster, Crabbe has had to shift several players to new positions.

Seniors Kristin Miguel and Sarah LeGalley have been among the team’s leaders. Miguel was more of a middle in 2013 before moving to the outside this season. Le Galley moved from the outside to the middle.

Crabbe also had high praise for senior Krystin Chang, who is playing outside, and junior Hope Carter, who is getting comfortable at setter.

Since its only loss to Pearl City Sept. 11, Mililani has won five straight as of late last week.