Sept. 23, 2013
By Jordan Cook, Mizzou Strategic Communications Assistant
Hailing from `Iolani High School in Honoloulu, Hawaii, the 5'11 freshman setter, Loxley Keala, is one of the two first ever players Wayne and Susan Kreklow have been able to recruit from the talent-rich state of Hawaii.
At `Iolani, Keala was the team's captain from 2010-2012 and was a three-time All-State over those years. She achieved a varsity letter for all four years as well. Keala was able to lead her team to a third place state title in 2011. `Iolani awarded her with the James H. Pott Award which is given to the high school senior athlete who they feel displays both excellence and sportsmanship best in the areas of sports and school.
Loxley Keala was also a member of the Imi Iki Volleyball Club where her team earned fifth-place at the Junior Olympic Championship in Dallas, Texas. Keala's U-16 Team had won first in the Florida Beach Open in 2011 and placed second the following year. Keala was also a member of the Aloha Region High Performance team which also got significant recognition and awards in her time involved.
Once the Kreklows found Loxley Keala, there were a few different things that attracted her to Mizzou as well.
"A lot of reasons came in to play. One, I was getting a scholarship, and that's a huge a thing because college is so expensive nowadays. Another one is while I was looking around, being from Hawaii I had no idea this school (Mizzou) even existed. When I came to visit, I just fell in love with it, everything. The people in the Midwest are so friendly, and the campus is beautiful. The coaches are amazing, and I love the girls. Just everything, the whole atmosphere. I came to one of the games, and it was like nothing I have ever seen before. We have big crowds in Hawaii, but just to see a bunch of kids wanting to be where we are. It's really exciting, so much adrenaline, it gets me excited just talking about it."
Perhaps these were some of the same reasons Carly Kan
, freshman defensive specialist, chose Mizzou as well. The pair were rivals in high school and club, and even played with each other for six years outside of high school, providing much chemistry and a few perks for both Keala and Kan.
"It was a good surprise. We went to different high schools and played on different club teams, but now that we are thrown into the situation of seeing each other every day, we live in the same hall, I wish I would have had this friendship sooner. We have become so close. It's not just because we share a culture. She has a great personality and is very easy to get along with. She's really cool to hang out with and talk to, a really good listener when I am having a bad day. Our parents will be coming at different times, but her parents can send things with my parents and vice versa. I was also really excited to know that such an all-around good player will be passing balls for me since I am a setter. I trust her. I've played with her for six years, I know the ball is going to be there every time, and it's a good thing, that chemistry."
Keala says the biggest differences between Missouri and Hawaii are the geographical ones.
"In Hawaii, you're ten minutes from the beach, but here (Missouri) you can drive for six hours, and it look the same. But in Hawaii, you're basically stuck on an island, the only way to get off is to fly. I've really come to appreciate just being able to get in a car and drive places. The weather is nice here as well, and I'm really looking forward to the winter."
If there's anything to miss about the island of Hawaii besides the beach and her family, Keala says it is the food.
"We have such a diverse culture, Chinese, Japanese, all these different cultures so you get a lot of different food, Hawaiian food, Korean food, so much different food, and it's really good."
Her favorite dish is called "Poke"
"It's raw fish cut up and diced into sashimi. From there my favorite is soy sauce. So they put soy sauce, onions, and algae on rice and it turns into a poke bowl. It's one of my favorite things with poi that comes from a taro plant and is sort of like a potato paste that you dip it with. It's really good. The food is good here too, but that is definitely one thing I miss."
Tiger fans can catch more of Loxley Keala and the rest of the Missouri Tiger Volleyball team for more action here at the Hearnes Center in the duration of the 2013 home season!