Maryknoll exchanges culture ahead of season

The 2019 girls volleyball season sets off tonight with a pair of matches on the Valley Isle while the rest of the islands will get things rolling in the coming weeks.

Ahead of its season opener on Aug. 27, Maryknoll hosted Fuxing High School from Shanghai, China for a pair of exhibition matches during a week-long cultural exchange as part of the international Common Goal: Diplomacy through Sportsmanship Program.

"This idea of sharing cultures, sharing experiences. This Common Goal program is just a small piece of our international program that's tied into athletics. I think it's such a valuable experience for our kids," Maryknoll athletics director Ben Valle said.

The 13 Fuxing players were hosted by Maryknoll families for their stay in Hawaii.

"I think the biggest thing our athletes have learned is this idea of sharing experiences with their own teammates and unifying their own teammates," Valle said. "One of the things I truly respect about the Chinese athletes is it's team before any individual. I hope our kids learn that."

The Spartans will open their season Aug. 27 at Hawaii Baptist.

The Interscholastic League of Honolulu will have a new format this year with four teams joining the division in addition to one more state tournament berth.