Strong statement

The Hawaiian Style Volleyball Club enjoyed across-the-board success this summer that it has never seen before.

The club, coached by Al Paschoal, finished second in the state rankings in the 17-under division based on a USA Volleyball points system, behind Ku Ulukoa of Oahu.

“It was cool,” said Treyanna Freitas, a King Kekaulike High School junior and first-team Maui Interscholastic League All-Star last season. “I actually enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would. Everyone on the team is from different schools, but we definitely did a lot of activities together since last year. We all got along. We all go to the beach and stuff after volleyball season.”

The Maui team finished 14th in last month’s USA Volleyball girls junior national championships in Minneapolis.

“People underestimate us a lot, but we know what we can do,” Freitas said.

“We made each other way more better because we were all high level of players, so we had to compete with each other to earn a spot on the team. It didn’t just come to you.”

The club’s 14-and-under squad finished eighth in its division in the state rankings, the 16-and-under team was 10th and the 15-and-under unit tied for 14th.

“We have had some really good teams,” said Paschoal, who is also the King Kekaulike coach. “This (17-under) team, though, could have competed with any team in the state, for sure. They could hold their own in any national tournament.”

That included a 10-1 record in February’s Las Vegas Classic, good for ninth place.

“We were also in a power league on Oahu, so we would go up every weekend for six separate weekends to actually play against their best club teams,” Paschoal said. “That’s one of the reasons we ended up getting such a high ranking in the state. And, of course, we did really well up in Minnesota.”

The team also includes Jamie Gomes, Savy Janssen, Bre Rodrigues, Makena Janssen, Gabby Ratte, Sophie Janssen, Kiki Leuteneker, Bel Cagen and Jayna Hoopai.

“I think all of them are next-level players,” Paschoal said. “And I think there’s a solid four or five that can go (NCAA) D-I.”

Paschoal has guided 34 college players in his eight years running Hawaiian Style and 16 seasons as a high school coach – six of those have played at the Division I level.

“It just shows the commitment of playing year-round,” he said. “They can really see the merit of pursuing an athletic scholarship. It’s not easy, it’s that white rabbit everyone is chasing.”

* Robert Collias is at