Chris Tumaneng, Zach Reis, Elias David and Mana Guerreiro lead the talent-rich Mustangs of Kalaheo.

The net result

Individual talent makes Kalaheo
the team to beat in the OIA
boys volleyball tournament

For all the Kalaheo boys volleyball team's ability to play together, the Mustangs' individual athleticism should never be underestimated.

"There's a lot of potential skill-wise on this team," said senior outside hitter Zach Reis, surveying his teammates at a recent practice. "Day by day, it's all coming together."

Reis and his supporting cast may have the athleticism to make a spirited postseason run in 2004, beginning with their Oahu Interscholastic Association quarterfinal match with Pearl City (8-3) tonight.

The match, which will be played at McKinley Student Council Gym, will be televised on OC-16 starting at 7:30 p.m. The winner earns a state-tournament berth.

For Kalaheo, ranked No. 6 in the Star-Bulletin Top 10, an old-school work ethic remains firmly in place.

"We push ourselves in practice to get the intensity level where it needs to be so that we won't have a bad game," Mana Guerreiro said. "We push ourselves to be intense."

Added Reis: "From day one, it was drilled into our heads that our hard work would pay off."

Outside hitter Elias David, right, is among three four-year starters on the Kalaheo team that went 10-0.

The top seed from the East is Kalaheo after the Mustangs won all 10 of their regular-season matches. And this despite the loss of Sam Wilhoite, who was the East's player of the year last season. A trio of returning three-year starters -- setter Chris Tumaneng, swing hitter/setter Guerreiro and outside hitter Elias David -- gave coach Sivan Leoni a good nucleus to build a competitive team.

"We're definitely better than in previous years as far as our athletic ability," Leoni said.

"This year, we lack height in the middle, but we make up for it with that athletic ability."

A boost came when Reis transferred from the Olympia, Wash., area.

"He's a big addition to our team," David said of Reis. "He's a weapon offensively and defensively."

Reis' father, Clyde, is the women's coach at St. Martin's College in Lacey, Wash., and volleyball has always had its place within the family.

"He taught me everything -- I would work out with his team," Reis said of his father. "There's no boys volleyball up there (in Washington) in high school, so I had to travel to Hawaii to play club. In the summer, I would play Junior Olympics with local Hawaii teams. I was born and raised on the island so, I'm grateful to get this opportunity."

At 5-foot-8, Reis is considered small for his outside-hitter position, but laughs about his supposed shortcoming.

"I'm probably one of the shortest in the state," he said. Reis makes up for any size disadvantage with his leaping ability.

A little taller than Reis is Tumaneng, a point guard on the basketball court for the Mustangs and the volleyball team's setter. A temperature of 102 recently sidelined him for two matches, but he is back at 100 percent for tonight.

He played a large role in the Mustang basketball team's postseason run last winter and should make his presence felt this week.

"Even though Sam left, our middle has been good, and our outsides are a little better than last year because of Zach," Tumaneng said. "He (Reis) flows with the system good."

Like Reis, Guerreiro comes from a volleyball family.

His grandfather, Pedro Velasco, was a two-time U.S. Olympic team member in the '60s and founded the Lokahi Volleyball Club. He currently coaches the Kalaheo girls team along with Mana's mother, Prandi.

Rounding out the Kalaheo team are David Moore, Jason Tanaka, Victor Elliott, Brandon Wong, Tate Brown, Chase Moses, Timothy Moyer, Clifton Pires, Tyler Caswell and Pono Wong.

Efforts to make Kalaheo home matches more fan-friendly this fall haven't fallen entirely to the Mustang team. Included amid the festivities were raffles to give away such gifts as surfboards and a TV, among other items, as well as music played in between the action. The Mustangs often made quick work of their East opponents, winning all but three of their regular-season matches in two games.

Last season, Leoni's team finished second in the East and made its second state-tournament appearance in three years. Kalaheo's biggest victory this season came on Sept. 11, when the Mustangs beat defending OIA champion Kahuku 25-23, 25-22.

That much-anticipated match aside, it remains to be seen how beneficial the Mustangs' OIA East schedule proves in their postseason preparation.

"Most of the teams from our conference graduated a lot of their starters, so we struggled to get a lot of good competition during the season," said Leoni, who is assisted by Ed Chun.

"We weren't really being tested, and it's something we anticipated. We try to force it (pressure) upon ourselves in practice."

Although the Mustangs won an OIA title as recently as 2000, the majority of banners hanging in the Kalaheo Gymnasium are basketball-related. The coming weeks will tell whether the volleyball program is ready to take the next step.

"Basketball overtakes everything here," said David, who is one of nine Mustangs volleyball players who also plays basketball at the school.

"Hopefully, we can bring (volleyball) up so that when people think of Kalaheo, they can think of volleyball, too."



E-mail to Sports Editor


Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]
© 2004 Honolulu Star-Bulletin -- https://archives.starbulletin.com