Waipahu Preps For Tourney

The Waipahu boys volleyball team did its fine-tuning for this week’s Division I state tournament in a most idyllic setting. While it loves the home confines of the gymnasium, the team was happy to spend last weekend camping on the beach in Waimanalo.

“We had planned it before the season started,” head coach Julna Pasicaran said. “After the OIA (tournament), we wanted to go to the beach and regroup before states. It will help our team bonding.”

On the playing floor, Waipahu has been one of the more cohesive units around, producing a 12-3 record to date in its first season in Division I. The Marauders finished 11-8 last season (8-4 in league play) giving the program 23 wins in that span.

Although Waipahu opened preseason camp with a lot of inexperienced players at the varsity level, their collective athleticism kept expectations high.

“We looked at what we had, and we definitely envisioned going this far in DI,” Pasicaran said.

Leadership has settled around the steady play of senior Isaac Tusitala and junior Chayse Antonio, who transferred in from Lanikila Baptist where he was an All-ILH selection last season as a sophomore.

“They’ve both been pretty consistent,” Pasicaran said. “Isaac is pretty positive, and he’s been with us now for three years. He’s improved a lot from year one to year four. He’s been a lot better this year. We’re able to play him all over now. He’s progressed.

“Chayse has been a great addition to our team. He gives us an experienced setter, and we play a 6-2, so he hits for us, too. He’s pretty steady. He doesn’t get rattled.”

On that note, Pasicaran talked late last week of Waipahu’s need to handle the moment – and the ups and downs that go with the typical match.

“For my team, playing relaxed and having fun (are keys). We’ve had some times when we’ve gotten rattled because of our inexperience, so we just have to go with the flow. We’ll be competitive this week.”

Offensive play has been Waipahu’s forte to date, a trend Pasicaran hopes continues this week. “It’s more the offensive part that helps us get some momentum going,” he explained.

“When we did lose games, it was usually because we weren’t passing well and setting to the right places. We have five hitters that can attack, but we can’t take advantage if we’re struggling with our passing. We have to get our passes to the setter and get it to the hitters.”

Pairings for the state tournament, which runs Wednesday through Saturday at various sites, were to be revealed after press time. Saturday’s state championship game will be played at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in Blaisdell Arena.