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Luna boys volleyball team off to 6-1 start

By Staff | Apr 9, 2015

The team includes (from left): back row — Ansen Cabanilla, June Ehsa, Sione Filikitonga, Christian Salibad, Keanu Hussey, Kiakahi Kenolio, Cyrus Kama, Pono Murray, Justin Valdez, Tomas Dreibelbis, Fritz Ruiz, Justin Quitoriano, Marion Sidon and Ericson Lago; front row — Team Managers Patricia Nebrida, Mharicar Tan, Keolani Hill and Christian Mae Yagyagan.

LAHAINA – Lahainaluna High School’s historic rising tide of athletic prominence in the 2014-15 school year continues with the remarkable rebound of the boys volleyball team under second year head coach Daniel Schultz.

After a disappointing and frustrating season a year ago – in which the Lunas took nearly every one of their Maui Interscholastic League opponents to extended four- or five-set matches before suffering loss after loss – the 2015 team is riding high atop the Division I standings at the halfway point of the current season.

Lahainaluna is 6-1 – and winning almost all of those close games – in first place and a half-game ahead of King Kekaulike in the D-I race.

The Lunas’ lone defeat was against Na Alii in a five-set marathon match that seesawed back and forth -including a 33-31 thriller in the third set – before King K prevailed to move closer to the league leaders from the West Side.

“We learned a lot last year in losing all those close matches, and this year we’ve become more versatile and deeper with that experience,” explained Coach Dan from his art classroom on campus.

“These boys are phenomenal athletes, so with the experience of playing in tight matches, we’ve learned position technique and execution, so that now we can go eight players deep into our rotations; whereas last season, I would look down the bench and wonder what we could do or who we could put in to fill a position on the floor.”

Leading the way for the Lunas are senior football crossover standouts Ansen Cabanilla and Sione Filikitonga, classmate and basketball team leader Cyrus Kama, veteran mainstay Tomas Driebelbis, junior returnees Kia Kenolio and Justin Valdez, and sophomore letterman Pono Murray.

Rounding out the roster are senior Christian Salibad; juniors June Ehsa, Ericson Lago, Justin Quitoriano, Fritz Ruiz and Marion Sidon; and sophomore Keanu Hussey.

Coach Schultz’s assistants include Marc Watasaki and Ikaika Vasquez, and the team managers are Kauakea Williams, Mharicar Tan, Christian Mae Yagyagan, Patricia Nebrida and Keolani Hill.

The MIL regular season runs through April 25, followed by the postseason tournament and then the state playoffs in mid-May in Honolulu.

“We’re in a good position right now to do well, but we do need to learn to get off to better starts in our matches,” said Coach Dan.

“We’re much improved over last year and very excited about our potential to do well. We’re looking for everybody to put in that extra effort that will take us to a winning season.

“My thanks goes out to all of the fans, the parents, the assistant coaches, Trainer Jon (Conrad) and to Athletic Director Scott Soldwisch for all the support we get as a team. We’re learning what it’s like to be consistent and how to be a top level team.”