Silence is deadly, so the key for the Kahuku girls volleyball team is to vocalize more.
"Once someone starts doing really good, we all get into it and help out each other," said Kahuku setter Teuila Nautu after her team’s 19-25, 25-20, 15-12 win over Maryknoll at yesterday’s opening day of the Ann Kang Invitational at ‘Iolani.
The Red Raiders, the two-time Oahu Interscholastic Association champions, completed pool play yesterday with a 2-1 record, defeating ‘Iolani’s Black team (junior varsity) and dropping a close match to Mira Costa (Calif.). The loss actually helped the Red Raiders in their match later in the day against Maryknoll.
"When we came here, we were kind of scared in the beginning," said Nautu, whose team left Kahuku at 6:30 a.m. and fought morning traffic to make the 9 a.m. match against Mira Costa. "Once we got together and meshed together, we did good against Mira Costa. I think that’s why we almost beat them. After that, our game against Maryknoll … we were doing good."
Against Maryknoll, the Red Raiders pulled away midway through Set 2 and led 14-8 in Set 3 before holding off the Spartans for the win.
Kahuku scored five straight to lead 13-7 in Set 3, helped in part by four Maryknoll errors. Kahuku served for match point at 14-8 before Maryknoll closed to 14-12. A ball hit out by Maryknoll ended the match.
Pati Anae led the Red Raiders with seven kills and Ho’onani Apo had six. To continue through the three-day tournament, the Red Raiders will need to open up to one another.
"They played with each for so long, they think they know what each other is supposed to do, but we have some new girls and they don’t know everyone’s tendencies," said Kahuku coach Kaniela Kalama, who didn’t finalize the roster until Monday. "Once we open up, we can do pretty good."
Freshman Savanah Kahakai led Maryknoll with 13 kills and Krista Lizardi had six.
"We’re at a much better place than we were a couple years ago," Maryknoll coach Lee Lamb said. "The girls are much more composed. The girls have spent a lot of time on this team. Making sure they can maintain that mind-set will allow us to compete.
Sixteen teams completed pool play yesterday and will be reseeded into four brackets for today’s matches. The field includes 2008 champion Mira Costa and Chung Shan Industrial and Commercial of Taiwan.
The tournament, which ends tomorrow, is named after Kang, the longtime ‘Iolani coach and teacher who died in 2003. She led the school’s girls volleyball team to the state championship in 2001.