April 19, 2002

Very Superstitious

April 19, 2002

By Drew McGuire Milam
Editor in Chief, The Santa Clara

Lucky socks, a favorite meal, washing your hands, listening to a favorite theme song and following a specific game-day routine, are all superstitious pre-game rituals that athletes have. Freshman tennis player Janalle Kaloi is no exception, her Diet Coke and sea-shell necklace are a must for every match.

"I really like to wear necklaces, and that's the only one that matches my tennis clothes," Janalle said. "Since I came to Santa Clara it's been good luck. When I didn't wear it a couple times, I lost, so now I always wear it."

On the other hand, Janalle's addiction to Diet Coke, or "DC", has become a necessity after a loss where she was going through withdrawal.

"At first I was trying to discourage [drinking Diet Coke before the match]," Head Coach Aby Ryan said. "She played a match one day without it and it was a disaster, and I was like, 'Get Janalle her Diet Coke.' Now I buy them for her before the match. It's her superstition and a little bit of caffeine for Janalle doesn't hurt."

After a successful fall playing in tournaments, the Hawaiian native had a rough start in the beginning of the spring season. Splitting time between the No. 2 and No. 3 positions, Janalle turned it around after starting 0-4 in singles play and won 10 of her next 11 singles matches.

"I think one of my weaknesses is that I can be pretty negative and hard on myself," Janalle said. "Sometimes if I miss a shot I'll think about it more than I should, instead of just going on to the next point."

Posting a 6-1 record during the month of February, Janalle was named the West Coast Conference Singles Player of the Month.

"I could tell that she was just getting use to college tennis earlier in the year," Ryan said. "I knew she was going to get better and I still think she is going to get a lot better. Just being a freshman it's all kind of new to her. Being from Hawaii she was not always pushed on a daily basis to be the best she could be, where here she is pushed everyday and every single match."

As Ryan juggled the pairings for Santa Clara's doubles teams at the beginning of the year to find the perfect matches, Janalle was paired with junior Christine Limbers for the beginning of the season. Later in the season, Janalle teamed up with junior Mariko Kawakami, playing mostly as the No. 2 doubles team.

"We mesh really well together," Kawakami said. "We call each other rocks because if one of us isn't playing so well or messes up a point, we have to be each other's rocks and make the next point."

The team has had a successful season going 7-3 in the months of February and March, winning back-to-back WCC Doubles Team of the Month honors. Although, some credit could be given to the carbonated beverage of choice.

"At first we were kind of iffy on the Diet Cokes," Kawakami said. "But now if she doesn't have one, I make her have one before doubles. One match we played she didn't have a Diet Coke and we didn't play quite as well. She has to have her Diet Coke."

In high school Janalle played doubles with her younger sister, Kimi Kaloi, a junior in high school, and won two State titles, peaking as the No. 22 doubles team in the nation. Kimi now plays doubles with the youngest of the Kaloi sisters, Heidi Kaloi, a freshman in high school. The pairing of the younger Kaloi sisters have gone undefeated this year and are ranked No. 1 in Hawaii.

"Janalle's super nice and she never gets mad when we play together," Kimi said. "She has always been a positive person and that has helped her go to the next level."

After a spring break visit to the Mission Campus, Kimi hopes that she too will follow in her sister's footsteps and become a Bronco, reuniting the dynamic duo on the courts once again.

"I was use to playing with my sister, that was the only person I would play with, and knowing exactly what we were doing all the time," Janalle said. "When I first came here, Limbers had a game that was totally similar to mine, which is exactly opposite to my sister's. Kawakami has a game exactly similar to my sister's, so it was easier for me. It was easier too, because they are both awesome tennis players."

The Kaloi family is definitely an athletic family. Janalle's father, Alex Kaloi, was a quarterback for the University of Hawaii. The whole family would always go together to play and work with tennis coaches.

"The girls are all pretty athletic. They have a sport that will help them develop both mentally and physically," Alex said. "Tennis is pretty tough and teaches you to never give up and that falls over into life."

Being so far away from her family, the women's tennis team has become a second family to the freshman.

"The girls are so nice, I came into the group and they had a special type of bond," Janalle said. "They really opened up to me and I feel like I can fall back on them or go to them whenever I need help. I equally love all of them."

Packed next to the tennis balls, racquets and nets in the tennis storage shed by the courts is a case of Diet Coke that should last Janalle through the WCC Championships this weekend.