Luna spikers off to a strong start
LAHAINA — Sixth-year Lahainaluna High School boys volleyball coach Tommy Akima is a big man with a booming voice to match who casts a far-reaching net across the Lahaina community as a proponent of positive youth development.
Akima spends his days working among the security force at Lahainaluna. He is also the guiding light — along with his wife, Noe — of the Christian-based hula halau Na Kamalii O Ke Akua.
During volleyball season in the Maui Interscholastic League, Coach Tommy puts on the sneakers, grabs his whistle and mentors the Luna spikers.
By nature, he is a positive and kindhearted man who brings out the best in all who make up his influential circle.
Noe is the team mom, daughter Lahela — the inspirational leader of the state champion Lady Lunas basketball team — is her assistant, and sons Kapili, TJ and George comprise the inner circle of the coaching staff along with Rylan Ancog, Jayson Manning, Sean Gordon and Moki Kalilikane.
The best is certainly coming forth in the team, as the Lunas have jumped out to 3-1 MIL start for the 2010 season after a 4-8, third place finish last year.
That start included a thrilling victory over the Maui High Sabers in which the Lunas fell behind two sets to zip, only to rally in the final three frames to win the match.
The 2010 Lunas are led by co-captains Clifford Ii, a senior, and junior standout Loupua Hafoka. Also returning for their senior season are Ridge Lanoza, Blaze Kalilikane, Kevin Quitoriano and Ikaika Vasquez.
Also returning are juniors Kaiea Rickard, Micah Arcangel, Justin Balingit and Sou Ika.
The Lunas will play a 12-game MIL Division I schedule versus Baldwin, Maui High, King Kekaulike and Kamehameha Maui through May 8, which will be senior night at the Jimmie H. Greig Gymnasium on the Lahainaluna campus.
Due to budget cuts, there will be no MIL championship tournament this year, and only one team will go to the state tournament.
“We have really good team chemistry, and we’re finally coming together as a team,” said Coach Tommy last week during a practice break.
“We’re starting to develop teamwork, but we still need to work on our passing and serving. We need to gain confidence and learn to gel together — game experience will help us in that way.
“As always, I thank God for the strength He gives me, my wife for her constant support, Dan Schulz — the (Maui Preparatory Academy) coach and a former professional and Olympic player, Chris Pico and the entire community for helping us out,” Akima concluded.