Castle Girls Volleyball
(Thu) August 26, 2010
(OIA Contributing Writer)
The Castle girls volleyball team has a new weapon this season: Height. With three frontline players with height of at least six feet, Castle is working extra hard in their practices with sincere desire to compete for the Oahu Interscholastic Association title. Led by 6-0 junior Joshell Lilio, 6-0 sophomore Verna Lynch and 6-1 senior Tehani Umiamaka, Castle hopes to be very competitive in league games.
“It’s great to have so many good frontline players,” senior captain Malie Garcia admitted. “Since I’ve been in the Castle program we never had much height. This season we have a real chance to win the league title.
Castle’s biggest hurdle is moving past defending league champions Kahuku. The Knights play the Red Raiders on August 26 in an OIA Red Division battle.
Both teams have had early success in preseason games. Castle recently won the preseason McKinley Tournament and Kahuku placed second in the prestigious Hawaii Invitational Tournament held at Kamehameha.
“Kahuku will definitely be a challenge for us,” Castle head coach Grant Tolentino said. “But in order to be the best you have to play against the best competition.” After Castle won its opener 25-10 and 25-23 over McKinley on August 24, Tolentino confessed that his team will have to play at their best in order to defeat Kahuku. “It’s back to the drawing board,” Tolentino said. “We’re going to have to devise a great game plan if we want to win. Kahuku has a great overall team and plenty of experience.”
Lilio says she is looking forward to the matchup. “Thus far this season we have played fairly well. Certainly competing against the top teams is what I thrive for. Our team wants to prove that we are a top contender,” Lilio said. Lilio starts at the outside hitter position while teammate Lynch plays the middle blocker position. Garcia is the team’s setter. The other outside hitter spot is manned by senior Erika Jarrett.
Major contributors include juniors Chelsey Gerona, Kasey Lafitaga and Jasmine Solley.
“Our team is young, but we believe we will get better as the senior progresses,” Garcia said. Certainly we do have the players this season to battle at the net. Many times it’s the net play that determines which team wins.” Lynch says she is thankful to have an experience setter who will get her in great position for potential kills.
“Garcia is a very good setter. I look for her leadership to help me maintain my determination to win,” Lynch insisted.
“We play in a very tough division,” Lynch said. “Every team has talented players and I’m sure winning in this division will be difficult.”
Castle plays home and away contests against Kahuku, Moanalua, Farrington, Kailua and Kaiser. The Cougars won the OIA White Division tournament crown last season while Moanalua won the OIA Red Division regular season title and Kahuku captured the OIA Red Division Tournament title.