Hawaii Tribune Herald - - SPORTS -

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.

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