Waipahu Strives For Rhythm

Whether or not the Waipahu boys volleyball team can make a return trip to the state tournament in May remains to be seen, but longtime head coach Julna Pasicaran knows one thing for certain: His team will be better in May than in March.

“We have potential, but a lot of our kids are seasonal players, so they’re just warming up now (to playing volleyball again),” said Pasicaran. “Once we get our rhythm, we should be OK. We’ll be competitive for sure.”

The Marauders more than held their own after moving up to Division I last season, going 11-8 overall (8-4 in league play) in addition to earning one of the OIA’s state tournament berths.

While they must replace Tatupu Tatupu Jr. and Duketoa Tili from last year’s team, several standouts return to the fold this spring to form a solid nucleus. Among the veterans expected to make big contributions are middle-blocker Isaac Tusitala and libero Jordan Bee.

“Isaac is a spark plug for our team,” Pasicaran said of Tusitala, a senior and three-year starter. “Being one of our veterans, he’s also trying to be the ‘man’ one who keeps control of everyone else. He’s improved a lot from last year. His defense is better, and his hitting is better, too.

“Jordan plays the back row really well,” he added of Bee, a senior and fouryear varsity player. “He covers a lot (of ground).”

Pasicaran also is excited about senior setter Clyde Ortega and junior Triton Tatupu, who will hold down a spot at middle blocker. “Both of them are people to look out for,” he said.

The team also received a big boost in the off-season when Chayse Antonio transferred from Lanikila Baptist, where he was an All-ILH selection last season as a sophomore. He’ll play setter and outside hitter at Waipahu. “He’ll be someone to look out for, too. He’s good, and he’ll be a pretty good addition to this team.

“Our front row attack should be good. We have plenty of potential.”

Waipahu flew to Maui over the weekend for a preseason tournament hosted by Seabury Hall. It also had taken part in the Longy Okamoto PreSeason Tournament in recent weeks, where they placed second to University High in the Silver Division.

The Marauders are in the midst of a layoff between matches now as they look ahead to next Tuesday’s OIA-opener at 5 p.m. in Nanakuli.