Yes, having a problem stepping away. But just wanted you to know.
The 40th anniversary celebration for the 1983 NCAA team will be part of the Wahine’s match against UCLA on Sunday, Sept. 10.
Actually not the third NCAA title. The 1979 championship is from the AIAW.
OH and BTW, Tiffany Westerberg and her husband are expecting twins in October. I don’t know if this is maternity leave or if she has retired from volleyball.
From UH: also link to photo gallery
On the first day of practice, sleeping in is for other people.
Dawn was just peeking into Mānoa Valley when the University of Hawai’i women’s volleyball team reported to Gym 1 on Tuesday to formally open preparations for the coming season.
Even so, the Rainbow Wahine didn’t need much prodding to ramp up the energy once the 6 a.m. session began.
“We like to compare it to your first day of school when you’re young and you can’t really sleep because you’re so excited to be able to go,” senior defensive specialist Talia Edmonds said. “That’s the energy I really felt today and it feels nice just to be back with the coaches and get that feedback.”
The sense of anticipation extended to the coaching staff as well as head coach Robyn Ah Mow enters her seventh overall season leading the program.
“Got like an hour of sleep, couldn’t wait,” Ah Mow said. “Got up at 4:15 just anxious to get out here with the girls. They’ve been working hard in the offseason.”
The Rainbow Wahine have a little less than two weeks of two-a-day practices lined up ahead of their Aug. 25 season opener against Northwestern in the Hawaiian Airlines Rainbow Wahine Classic at SimpliFi Arena at Stan Sheriff Center.
A setter during her decorated playing career at UH and with the U.S. national team, Ah Mow spent the tail end of practice taking full swings in a drill that reinforced the program’s emphasis on defense.
“I just wanted to do some ball control things to see where we’re at and what we have to work on,” she said. “We’ve obviously got a little bit more height, and we’ve got arms, so now we need to put it all together with passing and ball control.”
The Rainbow Wahine return nine letterwinners and enter the season as the three-time defending Big West champions. They finished 2022 at 22-7 (19-1 Big West) and posted the program’s 40th NCAA Tournament appearance.
Middle blocker Amber Igiede returns for her fifth year in the program after being named the Big West Player of the Year last season and earning a spot on the AVCA All-America third team.
“I think we prepared well during open gyms this summer, we prepared well in the weight room so I think our preparation paid off,” Igiede said. “I think we did really well for our first day.”
Senior outside hitter Riley Wagoner and junior setter Kate Lang also return following first-team All-Big West seasons along with outside hitter Caylen Alexander last season’s Big West Freshman of the Year. Lang earned the inaugural Big West Setter of the Year award.
The back row features the return of duo of junior libero Tayli Ikenaga and Edmonds. Senior outside hitter Kendra Ham emerged as a serving specialist last season and senior middle blocker Kennedi Evans is in line for a key role at the net in her second year in the program after transferring from Utah.
“I think we are a lot more urgent than other years,” said Wagoner, who woke up for practice even before her alarm sounded Tuesday morning. “We have a lot of returnees so we’re trying to lead by example and just get the newbies on track as fast as possible.”
The list of newcomers includes transfers Jacyn Bamis (Clemson) and Paula Guersching (Youngstown State) and true freshmen Stella Adeyemi and Tali Hakas
The Rainbow Wahine will play 11 non-conference matches starting with Northwestern, San Diego and Oregon in the season’s opening weekend (Aug. 25-27). They’ll face Southern Cal in a two-match series (Aug. 31, Sept. 2) and Liberty, Pepperdine and UCLA visit for the Outrigger Volleyball Challenge (Sept. 7-8, 10). The first road trip of the season will take them to the Fight in the Fort hosted by TCU to face the Horned Frogs, Western Carolina and Florida State on Sept. 14-16 in Fort Worth, Texas. They open Big West play on Sept. 22 against CSU Bakersfield and the conference season will lead into the inaugural Big West Championship set for Nov. 23-25 in Long Beach, Calif.