Girls’ V-Ball Embodies the Spirit of Teamwork


Coach Waialae

The Girls’ Varsity Volleyball team celebrates after their Senior Night home game against Kaiser. “The energy was amazing,” player Brooklyn Whitcher (11) says. “It was really strong. Knowing that everyone was there and cheering us on encouraged us to play our best.” Top L- R: Raymie Lum, Anela Rea, Kailee-Lei McKee, Ayre Takamoto, Kiera Kanoa-Faalafua, Haylee Lyons, Rorie Frias, Shyanne Yamada. Bottom, Seniors L-R: Kailee Wakatake, Ami Evans, Shaylee Yamada, Tayler Gomes. Photo by Coach Waialae.

Lily Washburn, Sports

“Senior Night, our home game against Kaiser, was one of the best days,” Kalani Girls Varsity Volleyball player Anela Rea (11) says. “Not only did we win, but we played our game and played at the top of our level as a team.”

Rea and her teammates are familiar with both the arduous and rewarding aspects of playing high-school-level sports. The girls’ varsity team, a diverse group of players ranging in grade level from sophomores to seniors, started the 2021 volleyball season with seven wins. 

Many of the players agree that playing on varsity has its disadvantages, but its benefits make it worthwhile.  

Rea, a volleyball player of six years, says that being a part of Kalani’s varsity volleyball team has shaped her into a more disciplined and determined athlete and person; still, this growth didn’t happen overnight. It took time, commitment, and passion.

“When you play volleyball for Kalani you make a commitment not just to the program but to your team, the coaches, and yourself,” Rea says. “There are always going to be distractions or things in the moment that you would rather do,  but when you see the person next to you show up every single day to practice you have no excuse not to be doing the same.” 

For Rea, one of her biggest inspirations is her teammates. Seeing her teammates have the same motivation and passion as she does makes her excited to show up for practice every day. 

“Even when we are doing punishments or conditioning I know that they have my back, so being able to call them my teammates is something I’m really proud of,” she says. 

Teammate Haylee Lyons (10) shares a similar appreciation for the players on her team. She admires their hard work, determination, and loyalty. 

“In some way, everybody on the team has been there for me and has helped me along the way, whether it was a simple comment or a piece of advice that they thought was helpful,” Lyons says. 

One of the biggest challenges Lyons and her teammates face as varsity athletes is balancing school and sports. 

Varsity athletes like Lyons have to devote substantial time and effort to their sport. According to a poll conducted by the sports magazine SKYD Magazine, an average high school or college athlete spends around 10-12 hours per week practicing. 

Lyons admitted that it can be difficult to devote herself to volleyball while still finding time to finish all of her schoolwork. 

To overcome this, she prioritizes her work by completing it as soon as she can, such as during a free period or after school before practice. 

For Rea, remembering what motivates her to play in the first place helps her keep going when she’s overwhelmed with schoolwork and volleyball. 

“I think what’s helped me is understanding why I prioritize volleyball and school in the first place, and reminding myself of that can sometimes give me the motivation needed to push through those hard moments,” She explained. 

To perform well on and off the court, Rea and her teammates must develop fundamental skills such as discipline, accountability, and collaboration. 

“One major skill that I have learned while playing on varsity is always being vocal and communicating with my peers,” player Raymie Lum (11) says. 

While maintaining clear communication with her teammates during games is essential, Lum also mentioned the importance of having a good relationship with her teammates. 

“I really like how our team is able to get along so well and the chemistry that we have,” she says. “We are able to know when we can have fun and when we need to be serious and play the game.” 

A phrase that Lum and her teammates often say to each other on the court is “me to we.” 

“It’s a mantra we made as a bit of a joke but the meaning rings true; to succeed you need to understand that your team has your back,” Rea says. 

Lum highlighted the individual aspects of varsity volleyball as well. She says that in addition to meeting the physical requirements of the sport, a successful varsity athlete plays with passion, perseverance, and a drive for self-improvement. 

Lyons emphasized the important mental component of the sport. She believes that an exceptional varsity athlete needs to have a “strong mindset” in order to persevere through challenging situations on the court. 

For example, they do this by reminding themselves to “keep pushing”  regardless of the “pain or difficulty in a drill or game.” 

She believes her experience on the varsity team has helped her to develop the mindset of a successful athlete.

“Playing on varsity has taught me that mistakes are okay as long as you learn from them, to never give up even when something may seem impossible, and to always remember that your team comes before yourself,” Lyons says.