Tuli’s Back On BYUH Courts

Tuli (Peters) Tevaga’s reputation as a volleyball player has always followed her, so when the Kahuku and BYUH standout returned to Laie after a brief Mainland stint, she always got the same question.

“People kept asking me ‘Are you back to play volleyball?’ and I would always tell them, ‘No, I’m here to finish school.’ ”

But her love of volleyball was still just below the surface, so she returned to the BYUH team this fall to finish out her final eligibility year. Now 26, she’s married to her college sweetheart, Shareff, and the couple has two young children: son Legend, 3, and daughter Leila, 1.

“My religion played a big part in my return. I prayed about it, and I was backed up by my family and friends in my decision.

“Everything fell into place. I had started coaching with (former Kahuku head coach and current BYUH assistant) Mona Ah Hoy and (current Kahuku head coach) Camilla Ah Hoy with the North Shore Volleyball Club, and I itched to play again.”

Tevaga’s skill set makes it look as if she never left the game, although she last played in 2006. She recently left the volleyball court to visit with MidWeek’s Windward Islander.

Who’s had the biggest impact on your life? To this point, it has been my mom (Mary). She’s always been my backbone. She’s always been encouraging — even when I left BYUH. What is your earliest sports-related memory? I started playing soccer when I was 6. My father was my coach then, and he was the only coach I had for a long time. I didn’t even know any other sport existed.

What’s been the biggest challenge in returning to volleyball after a long lay-off? My passion for the game has always been there, but it’s the physical part — trying to get back into shape and back into the swing of things. I’m facing some early-season pains right now, but I’m over the initial shock.

What area of your game do you feel most confident in? My experience. I can play with these girls, and I can help them with their own game.

What’s the most important thing you’ve learned through athletics? The importance of relationships. Volleyball only lasts so long, so my friendships with other players and my coaches and friends have been more memorable than anything. Being able to keep that connection after volleyball is always great.

Who on the roster that we don’t know much about now is ready for a breakout year for the Seasiders? It’s hard to choose one player. One who is going to have a huge impact is Stella Shih Ting Chen. She’s going to be huge for us for the rest of her career.

You’re stuck on Kahoolawe and can have an endless supply of just one food. What would it be? Anything from Laie Chop Suey. It’s awesome.