The crowd cheered as the ‘Iolani girls varsity volleyball team scored another point against its opponent. The girls huddled as they discussed their next play, with Mokihana Tufono ’22 encouraging her teammates.
A new student to ‘Iolani and one of two freshmen selected for the ‘Iolani girls varsity volleyball team, Tufono has caught the attention of the young and old for her hardwork and discipline, on and off the court.
“It is such a blessing and honor that I can contribute my talents to the team,” said Tufono. But making the team was half the battle. She has learned that it takes lots of work and commitment to be part of the No. 1 team in the state. But behind every great player is an even greater support system.
Her fellow teammates, coach, and family continue to help her become the best player and person she can be. Head Coach Kainoa Obrey ’99 has helped Tufono learn the “discipline of defense,” as well as being “mentally strong when you’re down a couple of points.” She admits that a large part of her success comes from her teammates’ positivity and advice that helps her cope “when I mess up during a play.” However, Tufono’s athleticism also runs in her family.
Tufono’s athletically talented family includes her older brothers who play collegiate football at Idaho State University and University of Southern California, respectively. Her father played football at University of Washington. In a family of athletes, Tufono’s father is always pushing his children to be the best they can be.
“The best thing he ever told us was, “Hard work beats out talent, when talent doesn’t want to work hard,” said Tufono.
For this season, Tufono hopes for her team to win ILH championships and then state championships. She believes her team can achieve this goal, especially with the great leadership from the seniors. Her goal is to play collegiate volleyball and hopefully win a spot on the U.S. women’s national volleyball team.