Photo by Jacob Nakasone
On and off the court, varsity volleyball outside hitter Junior Falanika Danielson embodies all the qualities of a star athlete. Her compassion, drive and humility makes her someone that her teammates and coaches can depend on. Her dedication to volleyball and her team, as well as her positive attitude, has earned her the Athlete of the Quarter title.
“I’m happy knowing that I accomplished many things while playing the sport I love. I hope that in the future I can inspire others to pursue what they love to do. I am doing what I love for the people that I love and strive to work harder each day,” said Danielson.
Many team members feel that teamwork is the key to their success. They say that Danielson has helped keep the team together and make them feel secure. “My team, especially the team chemistry is very important. It helps us to stay together when we’re playing because volleyball is such a mental sport. So when we have each other’s backs, it provides that bond and chemistry or like that good sense of feeling to work together,” said Danielson. Teammate Junior Aysia Miller added, “Everyone can relax when she’s around because she does big things for us and she helps out the team a lot and she’s just an overall great player.”
Danielson is also a very dedicated student who works hard to balance volleyball and school. With practices every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and games every Tuesday and Thursday, she says good time management is one of the skills she has learned from volleyball. “I’m here at school more than I am at home because I live in Ewa. I probably leave my house around 6:30 and I don’t come home until 10 so I have to try and find time in school to do my homework, so I can get sleep, then I have practice, and then I have to worry about (things) like college recruiting,” said Danielson.
From doing clinics when she was just 6-years-old to being a top player of the varsity team, Danielson says that she has grown as a person from playing the sport she loves. “Volleyball has taught me different skills with like interacting with others, working as a team, and knowing my goals. Because before every game we have to do a team goal and personal goal and setting goals is something I have to get used to and it’s becoming religious for me so it taught me that and then taught me to deal with tough situations, especially with pressure and overwhelming myself with everything,” said Danielson.
When times get tough, Danielson says that her family is always there for her and motivates her to keep pushing through. She also has the desire to leave her own legacy which also helps her to keep going. “I think a lot of it has to do with my parents. They push me because I’m the last in my family and both of my sisters already went through college, especially my older sister because she graduated from U.H. and she was a very popular volleyball player,” said Danielson. “I wanna be my own self. Not being known as being like someone else, but to have a name for myself. I want to make accomplishments and succeed in what I can do.”
Danielson believes in her team’s strength as they push on throughout the season. Their next game is OIA playoffs on Oct. 8.