10 ½ inches, it doesn’t quite make you a desirable player at the college level. But volleyball is my passion and despite my height deficit, I love the game.”
It helps that Ayap carries a 3.7 grade-point average. She plans to major in kinesiology and pursue a career in athletic training. Ayap and Ridgway can be study partners because both will have the same major.
Ayap had a good run with the Warriors, who were the BIIF Division I runner-up to Hilo and lost in five sets to Kapolei at the HHSAA tournament. She landed on the All-BIIF first team.
Last season as a junior in 2015, Ayap, along with Gacusana and Ridgway, helped Waiakea win its first BIIF championship since 2009.
Ayap has been a volleyball gym rat all her life. She plays club ball for Lawakua under coach Wikolia Manu-Olevao and earlier was with Haili Jrs. under Jodi Kalawe and Lyndell Lindsey.
At Waiakea, Ayap was tutored by coach Ashley Hanohano, who played Division I ball back in the day at Fairfield University in Connecticut.
“I don’t play any other sport, only volleyball. It has been in my life since I was young because I grew up in a volleyball family, and I would always spend my weekends at the gym,” Ayap said. “Coach Ashley is one of the best and favorite coaches that I have ever had. She is very supportive of me and especially having a D-1 coach that is a setter, I was able to learn the game from a setter’s perspective, which is priceless. She taught me that anything is possible.” she even called me during class.”
That phone call showed that Ayap is the type of teammate others want to play with. And Gacusana also gives high grades to William Penn.
“The people here are very nice, and the professors are really helpful,” said Gacusana, a medical biology major, who wants to become a pediatrician. “They give you that one-on-one time if you need it. They make sure you know what you’re doing and understand it.
“It’s such a great experience. Once you get to know the girls and how they play you start to gel well with them.”
William Penn has an enrollment of over 1,500 and sits in the city of Oskaloosa, which got a shoutout in Johnny Cash’s song, “I’ve Been Everywhere.” Unfortunately, Hilo wasn’t mentioned.
The Statesmen (same nickname for the men and women) listed 31 players on a squad that finished 7-27 this past season. That’s enough players to field five volleyball teams.
William Penn has a junior varsity program like a few other teams in the Heart of America Athletic Conference.
Gacusana, a libero, started on the JV for a couple weeks and moved to the varsity. Ridgway, a middle blocker, stayed on the JV.