[ HIGH SCHOOL VOLLEYBALL ]
Hard week ahead for SHA
A gauntlet awaits not one, but two teams this week.
Sacred Hearts, the Cinderella team of the Interscholastic League of Honolulu, is off to a remarkable 8-1 start. The Lancers have dominated Division II competition, but wins over D-I Mid-Pacific and Hawaii Baptist have energized the program.
That's the good news for coach Jonathan Tom's squad.
Bad news is that the Lancers face the best three teams in the league -- and the Star-Bulletin Girls Volleyball Top 10 -- this week. Today, they visit Iolani. Tomorrow, a trek to No. 1 Punahou.
On Friday, they go to Kamehameha. No team in the state has a tougher week of matches all season.
SHA's lone defeat so far was against No. 5 Word of Life, which has faced the top teams without outside hitter Chanteal Satele (foot).
"Sacred Hearts is going to need tough defense, and they need to serve tough," Word of Life coach Leeann Satele said. "It'll come down to passing and defense."
Aiea, meanwhile, continued its roll of victories and is 7-1 in the Oahu Interscholastic Association West. This week, though, will offer a heavy dose of competition. Starting today, in a span of three days Na Alii face Pearl City, Leilehua and Kapolei.
Aiea had a similar situation last year.
"I didn't like it, but we got through it," coach Blythe Yamamoto said.
The ramifications of this week's matches are crucial.
Finishing among the top two in the West means Aiea would get a bye through the opening round.
"That would be a lot better. Then you'd have to just win one (match) to qualify for states," Yamamoto said.
The bye also allows coaches to scout prospective foes.
"We haven't seen East teams, and they haven't seen us," she said.
Scouting Aiea, though, doesn't make preparation any easier. Lelani Kleman-Maeva was the centerpiece of last year's team.
"This year, every day someone different steps up," Yamamoto said.