Maui Prep girls volleyball team benefits from community support
NAPILI — Of the 24 girls in the upper school grades this term at Maui Preparatory Academy, 18 of them are on the volleyball roster, making this team one of the largest at the independent school nestled in the foothills of Napili.
Maui Prep Athletic Director, Student Life Director, science teacher and volleyball coach Ryan Kirkham, now into his fifth year leading the Pueo program, represents the versatility that the school promotes and carries forward the positive thinking of complementary learning through athletics.
This explains the relatively large turnout for the girls volleyball team at the West Maui campus.
“We require our high school students to participate in two sports and, fortunately, the volleyball team attracts a good portion of the girls,” Coach Kirkham explained last week from court-side at the Lahaina Civic Center gymnasium, as the team prepared for their big match with state Division II powerhouse Molokai.
“And with this team, we’ve been fortunate enough to have a brilliant leader in four-year player and team captain Cali Minami. She is simply a student-athlete that leads by quiet example through hard work — doing all the little things — on and off the court. Cali is an honor student at Maui Prep and has a terrific work ethic that took her to summer volleyball camps to improve her game. If I could clone the perfect team player and student-athlete, it would be Cali Minami.”
The Pueo spikers haven’t won many matches over the years, but Coach K reported that the team retains a positive attitude supported by the school and their families.
“We’ve really had terrific support from the parents, as they have shown great involvement with the team — the most for any sport at Maui Prep,” he said.
Athletes on the match play team include seniors Mckenna Powers, Amanda Graham, Abby Sauers and Samantha Castillo; juniors Chloe Schaefer and Davyana San Miguel; sophomore Jaclyn Blumer; and freshmen Gina Marzo and Nastiya Nicol.
With the large turnout for the team this year, Kirkham formed a practice squad that includes senior Serena Motelewski; juniors Selena Agarano, Mikayla Head, Alexis Oku and Kawaiola Wendt; and sophomore Katie Ornelas.
Coach Kirkham expressed his gratitude to the parents of the players and to his fellow Maui Interscholastic League coaches for helping him develop volleyball at Maui Prep.
“It has been a really interesting dynamic to coach this team,” he said. “Hopefully, we can continue to grow, and we’ll try to expose the team to more MIL volleyball and the topnotch programs we compete against. Molokai, for example, is the defending state D-II champions, and we have the privilege to play them twice (along with Seabury Hall, Lanai, Hana and Saint Anthony of Division II of the MIL). Their coach, Matt Helm, is always very kind to us, and the Molokai program is one that we hope to emulate.”
Kirkham also recognized the West Maui Parks and Recreation Department for providing the team the spacious, state-of-the-art practice facility at the Lahaina Civic Center gym.
“The Parks Department, especially Steve Ashfield, make it possible for us to have a volleyball team at Maui Prep. We have no gym at the school, so without the Civic Center, we would not have a volleyball program. They make it possible for the team, and they make us feel comfortable and at home here. Many thanks to them,” he concluded.
The MIL regular season runs through mid-October, with the post-season tournament set for Oct. 19 at a site to be announced.