Killin’ It: Danielson, Miller make Star-Advertiser’s Fab 15

Maya Hirano, Copy Editor

     Each year, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser ranks the top female high school volleyball players from across the state. In the past five years, only two players from MHS have made the all-state “Fab 15” list — Seniors Falanika Danielson and Aysia Miller, who this year ranked third and ninth, respectively.

     “Personally for me, it was such an amazing feeling. Knowing that I am ranked third in the state among one of the best players on the island, meant so much,” said Danielson. Miller added, “It made me feel like I was part of some of the best girls in the state. It was kind of like an honor, kind of fulfilling that.”

    Both Danielson and Miller had also made the list in 2018. Danielson had ranked seventh and Miller ranked tenth; each girl succeeded in bumping up their ranking this past season. “I actually was hoping a little bit — the girls last year that were on Fab 15, there were a lot of seniors so I was hoping maybe I was a little higher,” said Miller. Danielson added, “Of course I wanted to be ranked higher than the year before, it just meant I had to work harder for my senior season and to make a name for myself as well as a name for my school.”

    Each year, Star-Advertiser’s Fab 15 selection is heavily dominated by girls from Interscholastic League of Honolulu (ILH) schools such as Kamehameha, Iolani and Punahou. Danielson and Miller were able to be a part of the five girls representing public high schools in the 2019 rankings, with the other three coming from Kahuku and Moanalua. “As a public school, you never expect them (to be) like, ‘Oh, a public school’s gonna win,’” said Miller. “And its just a good feeling when you know public school can do as much as private school can, and especially Mililani High School where we have — there’s very high standards for not only volleyball, but all the sports. And just being able to step on a court wearing Mililani on your back is just a good and fun, awesome experience.” 

    Danielson added, “I believe that there is so much talent in the OIA (Oahu Interscholastic Association) and to be ranked with those from ILH says a lot. It felt great to represent my school and to show how much talent we have as a program.”

      The two girls have both been playing on the MHS’ varsity volleyball team since their freshman year. This year they shared the title, designated by ScoringLive, of “Co-Player of the Year,” and Miller won the Impact Player Award for the OIA championship game. “It was just an amazing experience being able to represent my school, represent myself, my team, everyone around me and everyone who supported me and playing my heart out one last time for my school,” said Miller. Danielson added, “This past high school (season) meant so much to me. Knowing that it was my last year, I wanted to leave this school with something to remember and to end this last high school season off on a good note.”

    Both girls have had a stable support system for their volleyball career. For both club and high school volleyball, family has played a key role in encouragement. “My biggest supporters are my parents and my two sisters. My parents have always been proud supporters of me and push me to be the best I can be,” said Danielson. Miller added, “My parents push me every single day to be a better person, not only on the court but off the court as well.”

    Alongside family and friends, coaches and teammates have also had an impact on their volleyball careers. Volleyball created opportunities for the girls to connect with a broader range of people. “It takes more than skill and hard work to be an athlete. The love and support from all around us is what shapes an athlete and with that, I wouldn’t be where I am today,” said Danielson.

   Miller added, “It was a fun experience, being with different girls from our school and representing our school — being able to have the bond that we had, and just fighting to the end (and) winning the OIA championship. And it was just amazing, I love every single one of them.”

     With this being their senior year, Danielson and Miller both plan to continue their volleyball career in college. Miller is committed to University of Maryland, Baltimore County, while Danielson has not yet committed to a college.