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Takeyama ready to strike
She was a sweeper her first two years at Baldwin, then was switched to striker by coach Kawika Keator her junior and senior seasons. Named to the Maui Interscholastic League and state championship tournament teams all four years, Takeyama was not heavily recruited. She always knew she wanted to play her college ball at home close to family and friends.
But that did not happen as soon as she expected. Last fall Takeyama had to make an important decision on a proposal suggested by Hawaii head coach Pinsoom Tenzing.
"I talked to Koren and her father (Neil) about redshirting her first year. Koren would have had to wrestle with three front-runners up top and gotten very little playing time," said Tenzing. "It's not easy to tell a player they are good but to wait a year."
Takeyama didn't even know what redshirting was at first.
"I just took his word that it was best for me. I had to be patient. In high school it is play, play, play, so it was hard sitting on the sideline, not playing, not traveling. But, it was the right decision," said Takeyama.
After absorbing the Wahine game from the sidelines and furthering her familiarity with the system in the spring, Takeyama is a strong candidate to start at a striker spot this fall.
With the departure of senior striker Arlene Devitt, there is a spot open in the forward line. Returning strikers Natasha Kai and Robyn deHay are secure with their starting roles. Takeyama was ready to state her case for the third spot when fall practice began.
"During the summer I tried to maintain my workouts, because I knew if I didn't, I wouldn't have a chance to play," said Takeyama. "My high school coach has a club team I worked with last summer. I was ready for the (Wahine) fitness test."
She probably will play the left side, but it doesn't matter to her which side she is on, although she said prefers striker to sweeper.
Takeyama's athletic abilities include being a sprinter (100 and 200 meters) and long-jumper for the Baldwin track team. The Wahine will benefit from more speed up top.
"She is one of the nicest kids I've ever had," said Tenzing. "Koren has power, speed, the element of surprise, can be very innovative up front and she can finish with both feet."
Although undecided about a major, Takeyama likes to set standards for herself on the field and in the classroom.
"It's all about having a positive attitude. I do get frustrated with myself, but I try to stay positive so I don't get down on myself," she said.
Takeyama is positive about the outlook for the Wahine.
"I think we are all excited. We have a lot of talent, especially with the 13 seniors," she said. "There is a good attitude and everybody wants to win. We know what this team can do and everyone has the same goal in mind."
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