Boys volleyball
returns to Kalani

The son of the Falcons'
last coach in 1976 is
chosen to lead the team

Kalani, which has not played boys volleyball since 1976, has revived the program, according to athletic director Gregory Van Cantfort.

The Falcons have hired Kealii Alexander to spearhead the effort. It was Alexander's father, Allen, who was Kalani's last boys coach. The son had no clue about Kalani's boys volleyball history: Kealii was born the year the Kalani boys volleyball program folded.

It was only when Alexander talked with his father about the job opportunity that the two realized they would now be linked in a new way.

"It's real funny to hear that," Alexander said. "He just remembers that he took over for a year, and the program lost funds," he said yesterday.

About six months ago, Alexander began to pursue varsity coaching opportunities.

"I talked to a bunch of coaches, like Clay Stanley (of Kaiser), to get a feel, and I heard Kalani was starting a team up," he said.

Not long after his interview, Alexander heard back from Van Cantfort and was hired.

Alexander's resume includes stints at club and high school levels, including Kamehameha and Punahou intermediate and junior varsity. He coached Outrigger Canoe Club and the Hawaiian Warriors, and has coached both boys and girls.

Alexander, 29, played at Punahou, graduating in 1994. He then competed at Penn State and Pacific before returning to Hawaii.

He played for Scott Rigg and Lyman Lacro at Punahou. Rigg is currently the girls coach at Punahou.

Alexander knows his task will be unique.

"We've met with the boys to talk story and see what the interest level is. We have 10 to 12 boys, and six to eight work out. None of them have played organized volleyball before," he said. "The experience level means we're starting from ground zero, but at the same time, it's a good thing. My hope is to build it from the ground up and establish my own philosophies and coaching without any preconceived ideas."

There will also be enthusiasm, Alexander believes.

"The assistant AD (Ned Umae) said that a lot of the boys who've come out normally don't do anything," he said.

Kawika Manosco will be Alexander's assistant coach. He assisted at Pearl City last season.

Alexander is an assistant general manager at Aston Waikiki Beach Tower and Aston Waikiki Beachside. He has been employed by Aston Hotels for seven years.

Kalani has also hired John Ahuna as its new girls volleyball coach. Ahuna succeeds Aven Lee, who coached for one season.

Lee, a former Hawaii player, planned to coach for just one year after stepping in for longtime coach Joey Miyashiro.

Another Buffanblu lands in Idaho: Former Star-Bulletin girls 2003 Player of the Year Aneli Cubi-Otineru has committed to play for the Southern Idaho Golden Eagles. The 5-foot-9 standout joins Punahou teammate Pohai Nuuhiwa.

Nuuhiwa, a setter, was named Star-Bulletin 2004 Player of the Year. She is projected as a libero.

Cubi-Otineru, a versatile, powerful outside hitter, was en route to the University of Hawaii until academic difficulties affected her season last fall.

Southern Idaho was 40-3 and ranked third nationally among junior colleges before an NJCAA sanction cut the season short.

Coach Ben Stroud has coached at CSI for 20 years, including a 578-35 record in the past 11 seasons.

Cubi-Otineru, a Top 50 player in Volleyball Magazine, is a coup for Stroud.

"That's huge for us. She may be the best American we've signed. She's already a great player," he told the Magic Valley Times-News.

Cubi-Otineru was courted by Florida, Penn State and every Pac-10 school in addition to Hawaii.

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