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StarBulletin.com

Island trio becomes force for Gaels


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POSTED: Thursday, September 10, 2009

Megan Burton gave Saint Mary's (Calif.) more than just an all-conference volleyball player when she signed with the Gaels.

She gave them a pretty good recruiter, too.

The only local high school graduate on the Gaels her freshman season, Burton, a 2006 'Iolani graduate, now plays alongside best friend Kapua Kamana'o ('Iolani '07) and cousin Chanteal Satele (Word of Life '08).

The trio helped the Gaels to their first NCAA tournament appearance since 2005 last year and are hopeful to build upon that performance this season.

“;I think a big factor is going to come from our teammates,”; Burton said. “;We set goals for each other and are committed to our success. We hold each of our teammates accountable.”;

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After three straight tournament appearances from 2003 to '05, the Gaels finished with losing records in West Coast Conference play during Burton's first two seasons. But last season, behind all-conference performances from Burton and Kamana'o and key contributions from Satele as a true freshman, Saint Mary's made it back to the dance before losing to New Mexico State in the first round.

“;We were plagued by injuries my freshman and sophomore year, but I knew our time was about to come,”; Burton said. “;We just had to work on our team chemistry because we are all very skilled volleyball players. Now we work really good as a team.”;

Kamana'o, the younger sister of Kanoe, a four-time All-American setter at Hawaii, is well on her way to a stellar career for the Gaels. She played every minute of every game at setter last year and finished in the top 10 in the country with 11.47 assists per set.

The chance to play early in her career combined with some encouragement from her high school teammate was enough for Kamana'o to make her college decision.

“;Meg just talked about how good it is here and how tough the conference is,”; Kamana'o said. “;I loved the program here and Saint Mary's is one of the top schools.”;

Satele is the youngest of the three, but comes from a talent-rich family in sports. Brother Brashton was slated as a starting linebacker for the Hawaii football team before suffering a season-ending injury, and cousin Samson is the backup center for the Oakland Raiders.

She earned freshman all-conference honors after putting down more than 200 kills last year in an impressive rookie season.

“;I just came in thinking that I needed to work hard and earn a position,”; Satele said. “;Positions weren't given easily, but the coaches are really good at helping me learn the system, which made it easier to get in there.”;

Satele is the only one of the three who hasn't started every game this year, but is still third on the team with 37 kills entering last night's match against San Jose State.

The Gaels have won four of five to start the season, one of many reasons why Burton is off to a perfect start her senior year.

“;I got my best friend Kapua and my cousin Chanteal here,”; Burton said. “;It's worked out great for me.”;

The Gaels begin their conference season against Pepperdine on Oct. 1.

 

Oregon State gets plenty of local help

» Oregon State junior receiver Aaron Nichols (Kamehameha '06) had two catches for 61 yards, including a 56-yard reception, in the Beavers' 34-7 win over Portland State. Starting safety Suaesi Tuimaunei (Kahuku '06) had a team-high seven tackles and starting linebacker David Pa'aluhi III (Waianae '07) added five. Backup linebacker Devin Unga (Kahuku '06) had six tackles and Castro Masaniai (Waipahu '07) had three, while Kevin Unga (Kahuku '06) and Brandon Hardin (Kamehameha '07) had two tackles. Portland State freshman Siasau Matagiese (Waimea '09) had three tackles.

 

Notable

FOOTBALL

» Arizona State senior wide receiver Brian Matsumoto (Punahou '05) caught a 16-yard touchdown pass in the Sun Devils' 50-3 win over Idaho State.
» California senior Tyson Alualu (Saint Louis '05) was credited with three tackles, half a sack, two pass breakups and a forced fumble in the Bears' 52-13 win over Maryland.
» Idaho junior linebacker Jojo Dickson (Baldwin '07) had a team-high 11 tackles and Robert Siavii (Leilehua '08) added four tackles and a pass breakup in the Vandals' 21-6 win over New Mexico State. Running back Kama Bailey (Damien '08) returned a kickoff for 33 yards, had one carry for 3 yards and a 4-yard reception, and Conrad Scheidt (Kamehameha '09) added a tackle in his collegiate debut. Aggies starting defensive end Kawika Shook (Kamehameha '06) had five tackles.
» UNLV's Malo Taumua (Aiea '05) intercepted a pass in the Rebels' 38-3 win over Sacramento State.
» Notre Dame freshman Manti Te'o (Punahou '09) had two solo tackles in his debut for the Fighting Irish in a 35-0 win over Nevada.
» Utah linebacker Kepa Gaison (Kamehameha '05) had four tackles and defensive end Nai Fotu (Kahuku '07) had two tackles, including a sack, in a 35-17 win over Utah State.
» Weber State junior quarterback Cameron Higgins (Saint Louis '06) completed 32 of 51 passes for 322 yards, three touchdowns and five interceptions in a 29-22 loss to Wyoming. Senior tight end Cody Nakamura (Baldwin '05) had three catches for 37 yards, including a 4-yard touchdown reception. Sophomore defensive tackle Ryan Eastman (Saint Louis '08) had one of the Wildcats' two sacks.

 

WOMEN'S VOLLEYBALL

» Boston College sophomore libero Brennan Clark (University '08) was named to the St. John's Classic All-Tournament team last weekend after leading the Eagles to three wins. She had 50 digs in the tournament and has 115 for the season, third most in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Sophomore outside hitter Jordan Meredith (Kamehameha '08) hit .357 with six kills and six digs as the Eagles swept Quinnipiac to win their fifth straight match.
» Oregon State senior setter Camilla Ah-Hoy (Kahuku '06) had 33 assists, 11 digs and five block assists in a three-game sweep of Cal State Fullerton to win the Active Ankle Challenge on Monday. The Beavers finished 4-1 in the tournament.
» Nevada junior outside hitter Kylie Harrington (St. Francis '07) finished with a match-high 21 kills and added 15 digs as the Wolf Pack closed the Arizona Tournament with a five-game victory over Houston on Saturday. Sophomore Tatiana Santiago (Kamehameha '08) had a team-high 25 assists and nine digs and freshmen Kelly Chang (Hawaii Baptist '09) and Elissa Ji (Maryknoll '09) had four digs apiece.
» Linfield (Ore.) sophomore Samantha Lau (St. Francis '08) had 48 digs and three aces as the Wildcats finished 2-1 in the Boxer Invitational last weekend in Forest Grove, Ore.

 

MEN'S WATER POLO

» Loyola Marymount junior driver Andrew Aki (Punahou '06) scored three goals in a 15-1 win over Pomona-Pitzer and two more in a 12-5 win over Air Force on Saturday. The Lions finished 3-1 in the UCSD Triton Invitational, including a 9-5 victory over No. 5 Pepperdine.

 

MEN'S CROSS COUNTRY

» Northern Colorado freshman Matt Nakamoto (Hawaii Baptist '09) finished in 39th place with a time of 24:59.3 at the Wyoming Invitational.