After years of playing in Division 2, HBA’s girls volleyball varsity team was given the opportunity to move to Division 1 through an ILH one-year pilot program. The pilot moved schools into Division 1 based on their enrollment size.
Four schools, including HBA, were moved into Division 1 to join Kamehameha, Iolani, Punahou and Mid-Pacific, making a total of eight teams. This larger Division 1 group is now divided into two brackets: The original four big schools are in one bracket and these schools will only play the new schools once during the season. The second bracket schools will play each other twice.
When asked about how this move will affect the team and players to come, Lady Eagles head coach Myles Shioji explained, “The girls would [have to] understand that they need to get physically stronger, more agile, and play volleyball at a higher level during the off-season. That preparation should help them to play the D1 high school season.”
With most of the regular season completed, the Lady Eagles currently have a 3-5 record. To HBA Athletic Director Deren Oshiro, this is still a competitive record. “The matches have been mostly competitive, even if the record isn’t impressive,” he said.
The Lady Eagles still have a chance in the post-season to make it to States if they win two games during the post-season.
“We just need to go out on the court and play and make smart decisions so that we can get to the state championships this year,” said senior setter Kathryn Harada, who’s taken on the role of team captain. “Winning states was our goal from before the season started and it still is our goal today. We expect ourselves to get there and we’re going to work for that state championship every day.”
Senior setter Rachel Nakata shares the same mindset. “We expect to try our best to make it to the state tournament. We knew that the teams would be better competition, but we felt that we were definitely capable of facing them,” she said.
Junior middle blocker Amber Loo says the team’s current focus is game mentality. “Honestly, I did not expect to struggle as much as we have when it comes to closing out a set after cumulatively losing points. It is critical for us to focus on the positive pointers and goals for the game rather than worrying about the possible mistakes, because it allows our mind to zero in on what to do instead of what not to do,” she explained.
Shioji is proud of how the team has performed in spite of the challenging season. “The team is trying to execute the game plan and adapt to the playing style that is asked of them. They are doing an outstanding job of that so far,” he said.
This week, at HBA’s Fall Spike Nite, the Lady Eagles face Le Jardin for their second meeting. HBA lost to Le Jardin in their first meeting 25-19, 25-16.