Good times, memories at Wahine alumnae match, Green-White scrimmage

It was one for the ages. All ages.

Fifty years of Hawai’i women’s volleyball was on display Friday night, highlighted by appearances of members of the Rainbow Wahine national title teams of 1979, ’82 and ’83. 

Missing was representation from 1987, UH’s last championship squad. But that was all that was missing from a night filled with memories, good music and good times at SimpliFi Arena at Stan Sheriff Center.

Nearly three dozen former players showed up — as did about 1,000 family, friends and fans who were treated to numerous “she’s still got it” plays from names of the past … Adolpho, Choy, Kahakai, Manu-Olevao, Ross. 

Savannah Kahakai’s service runs led the way for the Green to defeat the White 25-15, 15-6 in the all-alumnae match. It was followed by an alumnae team taking on the Wahine coaching staff, one led by an All-American and three-time Olympian who happens to be her alma mater’s head coach: Robyn Ah Mow.

Little surprise that the coaches won 25-19. Little surprise the crowd gave Ah Mow a hard time for her service error.

The night also included a skills competition that ranged from setting to a target, serving location and commit-block defense. Kahakai won both the libero high-ball out-of-system contest as well as the serving location, helping the alumnae hold off the varsity 3-2.

And then the main event where Ah Mow transitioned into coach mode with the same smoothness she displayed when setting for the coaching staff. While the Wahine were missing outside-middle Tiffany Westerberg (Illness) they gained the services of 6-foot-2 junior middle Kennedi Evans who was finally cleared to play.

“It was exciting,” said Evans, who transferred from Utah during the offseason. “It’s the first time playing in a long time and it was fun to do it in front of fans.”

The White — with junior middle Amber Igiede in the front row the whole time and senior Mylana Byrd setting — won 25-22, 15-13 over the Green. No statistics were taken but, unofficially, Igiede had 10 kills and was in on six blocks. Freshman hitter Caylen Alexander had three aces.

This was the first alumnae match since 2019. The Big West cancelled the Wahine’s season in 2020 and COVID restrictions did not allow for UH to have fans until late last season, which eliminated the alumnae match.

“I didn’t know what was going to happen tonight,” Ah Mow said. “But it was great to see all the generations of players out there and it was good for the team to interact (with the alumnae).

“It’s special here. Putting on this jersey, seeing everybody come back. Hopefully it gets better next year. I feel like we can have things during the week to lead up to this and maybe start working on next year now.”

In the meantime, it’s back to work on Monday for Hawai’i as it prepares to defend its Big West title. The Wahine (3-5) host UC Davis (5-4) on Friday and UC Riverside (2-7) on Saturday, both matches starting at 7 p.m.

8 Comments

  1. I don’t know my Wahine history very well yet, but I thought I overheard someone tonight at the Alumnae match say that there was 3 generations of Sateles that showed up?
    Much mahalos for all you do, Cindy!

  2. Quite impressive evening! I found myself trying to name the alumni that I’ve watched on the court these past years and their children – gave up on that one- so many keikis 🥰 Sarah Mendoza was the only one that I could not recognize. Nohea Tano Laboy came in late but did not play . Refs, ball handlers , band was there and concession was open Well organized event

    • enjoyed it too. thought it was well done. Imagine if they had help planning this even a few months ago. That fact that Robyn ws pleased says a lot. I didn’t see Nohea until the end. Have you tried her BoBa Team place in Kailua? Cute little shop a block from Target called Bee & Tea. I didn’t recognize Sarah either.

  3. Aloha Cindy. I know Tiffany was sick and Anna still out (tho cleared) but where was Jackie Matias? Much mahalos for all you do!

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