POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Sep 14, 2010
Not everyone who watches girls volleyball is surprised about Mid-Pacific's stunning 15-25, 25-21, 25-21 upset of then-No. 2 Punahou last week.
MPI athletic director Jo Ito saw it coming, even after two tough losses in league play prior to the match. Long before the season, Ito hired new coach Vernon Podlewski, a former University of Hawaii player.
"He's had a great impact already. He has a very positive outlook. He's very big on positive feedback," Ito said.
The Owls, unranked in last week's Top 10, are now 4-2. The only losses came against 'Iolani and another rapidly improving team, St. Francis. With University's ascent -- the Junior 'Bows nearly upset Kamehameha last week -- and the surge at Sacred Hearts, it's reasonably possible that as many as six teams from the Interscholastic League of Honolulu could dot the Top 10 at some point this fall.
He's the guy who washes out the coolers and sweeps the lockerroom with a few teammates when they return from football games.
Jesse Carney isn't buying into the hype. He just wants the broom, please.
"His spirit drives the team," Kalaheo coach Chris Mellor said of his star athlete. "His humility comes from within."
Though Carney is a standout linebacker -- he's returned a pick for a touchdown -- and is a kick returner no opposing team has kicked to, it's offense where he's made the biggest impact.
With 379 yards and six touchdowns -- on just 15 carries -- against Kalani on Saturday, Carney now has 799 rushing yards in three games. He's not the focal point of Mellor's veer option attack. Justin Pagan gained 153 rushing yards against Kalani. Carney is just a special player, Mellor said.
"He's got very little body fat and he's deceiving with his speed," he said of Carney, who also wrestles and runs track.