Talented LHS volleyball team should challenge for the MIL championship
LAHAINA – Count the Lahainaluna High School volleyball team as part of the rising tide of athletic programs at the historic campus that have moved up into the top competitive tiers of the Maui Interscholastic League.
Under the guidance of head coach Dan Schultz and assistants Mark Watasaki and Ikaika Vasquez, the Lunas are moving into the home stretch of the 2018 season in hot pursuit of league-leading Kamehameha Maui.
Lahainaluna currently is in second place in Division I of the MIL standings with an 8-2 mark and finished last season in third place.
For the current campaign, Coach Dan – a former collegiate volleyball player at Loyola of Chicago (yes, that would be the same Ramblers that shook up the NCAA basketball brackets and fought their way to the Final Four) – has led the boys team at Lahainaluna for the last five seasons.
The program has been on the rise since his arrival and has been in the hunt for the MIL title every year.
Schultz points to an athletic, experienced roster that he uses in an 11-player rotation on the court. Leading the way are senior captains Nicholas Gayagoy and Carter Stockham along with sophomore Matt Domingo. They are joined by senior returnees Jarren Mark Rosqueta, Koa Evalu Robinson, Aliksa “Jun Jun” Pihda, Raymond Maukala Lonza, Rowel Ansagay and Leovigildo Amby, and juniors Jonah Damasco, Tekoa Sonognini, Elijah Oliveira and Miki Tufuga in the leadership front for the team.
Rounding out the roster are senior Steven Kama, junior Ko’i Kekona and sophomore Keahi Shim. Team managers are Melody Kaina Tianio, Alana Koa and Aulani Casco Deleon. Volunteer coaches include Justin Autorriano, Hudson Schultz, Ella Schultz and Lucas Schultz.
Coach Dan also pointed to the efforts of Trixey Ganer and the leaders of the Lahaina Volleyball Club for the ever-increasing quality of the youth volleyball players on the West Side.
According to Coach Dan, if the Lunas can pick up their intensity and focus at the end of matches, they will be in good shape to challenge for the MIL championship in the coming weeks.
“We have a bunch of physically gifted athletes, and we are an experienced team with depth, so if we can learn to finish matches – especially in the final round and in the MIL Tournament – we will be in good shape to finish strong,” he said.
The MIL Tournament will be held during the last week of April at King Kekaulike, followed by the Hawaii High School Athletic Association State Tournament in Honolulu the first week of May.