Lahainaluna High School sports resume as volleyball, football return to action after deadly Maui wildfires
Lunas open gridiron season on Saturday vs. Baldwin at War Memorial Stadium with first home game on Oct. 21.
It will be hard for life to return to normal for those affected by the deadly wildfires on Maui in early August.
But some normalcy returned this week to the high school athletes of Lahainaluna (Lahaina, Hawaii), whose campus sits just outside of the burn zone that claimed hundreds of lives and forever changed the historic town.
On Tuesday, the Lunas volleyball team took the court for the first time this season against Maui and Saturday the football team hits the gridiron for a game against Baldwin at War Memorial Stadium in Wailuku.
The student-athletes who have one of the most picturesque campuses in the country have been shuffled some 45 minutes south to the Kulanihako’i campus while waiting to return to their campus sometime in October.
That the volleyball team lost in straight sets Wednesday mattered little in terms of league standings. What mattered was the initial steps of healing.
#LunaStrong 💪🏾🏐 We’re 20 minutes away from #Lahainaluna v @SaberAthletics gvb, the #Lunas’ first sports contest since the #MauiFires. Big. @MauiNewsSports @scorestream @RobDeMelloKHON @JordanHelle @scoringlive @billyhull pic.twitter.com/WbLG7czarU
— Robert Collias (@BaldHeadTruth) September 27, 2023
“It was hard to be here, we’ve had very limited time to work together on our rotations and it showed tonight. But I’m proud of the girls. Like I told them, we literally have nothing left to lose. We’ve lost everything. We’ve lost everything,” coach Trixy Nuesca-Ganer told The Maui News.
She told the paper about 23 of the 29 girls on the junior varsity and varsity rosters lost their homes in the Lahaina blaze and that Tuesday’s match was vital to her girls.
“It melted my heart, absolutely,” she told The Maui News. “It was great to see the community, not just Lahaina, but Maui come out and be supportive. They were all cheering for us, it was awesome, it felt good. It brought me to tears.”
Like the volleyball team, which had three practices prior to the match Wednesday, the football team has been making due away from campus.
The gridiron Lunas, about 80 players, have used South Maui Community Park for practice. They were gifted cleats from former St. Louis quarterback and current Philadelphia Eagles backup Marcus Mariota.
The Lunas also will field a junior varsity team this season with that starting at 4:30 p.m. and varsity following at 7 p.m.
Lahainaluna plans on a five-game schedule with its first home game at Sue Cooley Stadium on Oct. 21 against Baldwin. The Lunas other games will be Oct. 7 vs. Maui at War Memorial Stadium, Oct. 14 vs. Kamehameha Maui at War Memorial and Oct. 28 vs. Maui at Sue Cooley Stadium.