Seabury Hall sweeps St. Anthony
OLINDA – The difference between the Seabury Hall and St. Anthony girls volleyball programs is evident just by looking at the rosters.
When they met at the Erdman Athletic Center on Wednesday night, the Spartans rolled in the first two sets before the Trojans hung tough in the third of a 25-13, 25-11, 25-23 Seabury Hall sweep.
“It was a good start to the season,” said Seabury Hall junior outside hitter Makena Janssen, who had a match-high eight kills. “We definitely have some work to do, but we’re progressing. We are working on communication, effort and defense right now, those are our main goals.”
The Spartans (2-0) are the two-time defending Maui Interscholastic League Division II champions and have a roster of 14 players, all of whom coach Scottie Zucco says could start.
“We have been playing together for a few years, so we are really a bonded team,” Janssen said. “We are a really tight group. I’m really excited – it is going to be a good season.”
The Trojans (0-4) have seven players on their varsity roster and eight freshmen on the junior varsity. St. Anthony’s coach Don Lee, a longtime member of Maui’s volleyball community, stepped in to take over a coach-less team only a few days before the season started.
“Four matches in 2 1/2 weeks and I had them for five days (of practice),” Lee said. “The first day I looked at the team and we had eight freshmen, ‘Let’s form a JV team’ just so they get the chance, the opportunity to play.”
The challenge for the Trojans’ varsity is extreme. St. Anthony’s former coach and school athletic director Al Paschoal is now the coach at King Kekaulike.
“We only have seven players, only one sub,” Lee said. “Four seniors, no juniors, three sophomores. They are just playing with their hearts.”
“Our mantra coming up here was: ‘Do the best we can, play the best we can and get over a big hump.’ I kept challenging them to get to the hump and we did it. We’re stoked.”
For Seabury Hall, the challenge was preparing for a stretch similar to what the Trojans have already been through this season. St. Anthony has played Hana, last season’s MIL runner-up, and twice at Molokai, the 2011 state Division II champion.
The Spartans host Molokai on Sept. 14 and then have a midseason stretch of Hana on Oct. 5, Molokai on Oct. 11 – both in Olinda – and then at Hana on Oct. 12.
“Fortunately I have an extremely deep program,” Zucco said. “All the kids have been working their tails off in practice, really strong effort, good communication and defense, so every kid that does that in my book is worthy of playing on the court.
“It’s a special thing and to get everybody out there means we are doing something right in practice.”
Gabby Ratte finished with five kills and four aces for Seabury Hall.
* Robert Collias is at firstname.lastname@example.org