Hawaii women’s volleyball: Akana, Ah Mow are old hands at skills camps

Campers followed the lead of UH coach Robyn Ah Mow at the Rainbow Wahine Volleyball Camp on Monday. / Photo by Brian McInnis

At least one of the new Hawaii players at this summer’s Rainbow Wahine Volleyball Camps and Skill Sessions is an old hand at them.

Kamehameha alumna Braelyn Akana, an incoming freshman with UH, was one of a handful of players on hand to assist the UH coaching staff in the first session of a four-day camp Monday. Returning setter Norene Iosia and Oregon transfer Jolie Rasmussen were among the others present.

Akana, a Kamehameha alumna who is the daughter of former Wahine standout Joselyn Robins and former UH basketball assistant Brandyn Akana, used to attend these camps all the time as a youth.

“I just remember being like really nervous but super excited to play here, but now that I’m coming to college here, I’m really excited,” she said.

A few minutes later, the campers (about 80 in total) proceeded to spray volleyballs all over the Stan Sheriff Center floor. With the lower-bowl seating retracted, there’s space enough for three full volleyball courts.

Akana is part of an eight-player 2019 recruiting class that has generated some enthusiasm around the program. ‘Iolani alumna Bailey Choy was the most recent addition as a transfer from Utah.

2019 Rainbow Wahine recruiting class
>> Braelyn Akana, 6-0 OH/OPP/MB, Fr. (Kamehameha, Hau‘ula)
>> Hanna Hellvig, 6-2 OH, Fr. (Allebergs Gymnasium, Stockholm, Sweden)
>> Amber Igiede, 6-3 MB, Fr. (St. Michael High, Baton Rouge, La.)
>> Riley Wagoner, 6-0 OH, Fr. (Dublin Coffman High, Dublin, Ohio)
>> Tiffany Westerberg, 6-3 MB, Fr. (Maple Ridge Secondary School, British Columbia, Canada)
>> Bailey Choy, 5-9 S, Sr. (‘Iolani/Utah, Honolulu)
>> Kyra Hanawahine, 5-2 DS/L, (Kamehameha/Oregon, Honolulu)
>> Jolie Rasmussen, 6-2 OH, Jr. (Canyon Crest Academy/Oregon, Encinatas, Calif.)

“A lot of the girls on the team now, and the incoming girls, I’ve reached out to them and we’re really excited for the upcoming season,” said Akana, who was previously coached in club ball by UH’s Robyn Ah Mow. “I grew up with a lot of the older girls who are here, like Kamalei (Krug), Kyra (Hanawahine). A lot of the girls that are from here, I’ve played with a lot of them, so it’s just super cool seeing them and being able to reunite.”

The team began workouts last week, the first of several phases leading up to the Aug. 30 season opener against San Diego in the Hawaiian Airlines Rainbow Wahine Classic.


Ah Mow, who enters her third season as head coach, was asked about the recruiting class during a media session Monday. She called the process “hectic” and directed credit to assistants Anjelica Ljundqvist and Kaleo Baxter for being “out recruiting a lot. We’ve gotta get back to it now.”

They’ve been unapologetic about aiming high.

“Sometimes, there’s some kids, ‘oh my gosh, Hawaii’s recruiting us,’ ” Ah Mow said. “And some players, I guess, there’s bigger schools (after them). It’s OK with us. But we’re still going after the blue-chip players, and if they don’t want to, we’re just going to keep going. But these girls we recruited love Hawaii. They’re going to love being here and playing.”

As for the camp itself, Ah Mow has learned a thing or two about delegating responsibilities since her days as an assistant coach under Dave Shoji.

“It’s cool now because we get all AC in the gyms now (Gym 2 and Stan Sheriff, with Gym 1 nearing completion),” Ah Mow said. “So everybody can’t complain. Some people don’t want to go to Klum, but yeah, just to give back to the kids here. Not so many people come from the mainland, it’s hard for them. I know our recruits want to come, but just for the kids here in Hawaii, to help them out.”

There are three more camps next month (July 9-12, 15-18, and 22-25). They are $200 per camp per child. There are also $160 skills sessions for liberos (July 11-12, 17-18), setters (July 11-12, 22-23), and hitters (July 17-18, 22-23).


You can register for upcoming camps online.

Season tickets are on sale for the Wahine 2019 season at Hawaiiathletics.com and at the Stan Sheriff Center box office, or by calling 944-2697.

COMMENTS

  1. islandman June 11, 2019 1:59 pm

    Thanks for the update.


  2. Sup_Palala June 11, 2019 2:45 pm

    Incoming freshman Braelyn Akana is also first cousins to men’s basketball’s incoming freshman, Jessiya Vllla, coming off his 2-year church mission to Ghana. Interesting to see cousins coming in at the same time for their prospective sports to play for UH.


  3. H-man June 11, 2019 5:40 pm

    I am excited about the upcoming season. In the beginning I wasn’t sure if Robyn could maintain the level of play that Dave established, but after two seasons, Robyn has proven she can and is capable of taking them back to the final four.


  4. Buds4life June 11, 2019 7:48 pm

    Mahalo Brian. Grateful for another source of Na Wahine news. Like many others, looking forward for the upcoming season and the play of all the newcomers.


  5. turfwar June 11, 2019 10:28 pm

    Hope you do more Wahine stories as the year goes on. Good stuff Brian!


  6. DENNIS YOKOYAMA June 12, 2019 3:19 am

    Thanks for the Wahine update Brian! Hawaii has fans from all over….even Charlottesville, VA. Always ALOHA


  7. vballfan June 12, 2019 6:38 am

    What a surprise to read this off-season article and to hear so much from Robyn. Please keep writing about the Wahine. Thank you!


  8. Vince Cabalse June 12, 2019 7:45 am

    Mahalo for the update. Coach Ah Mow and staff are doing a great job. Just wondering about the coaches attire on game days? My opinion is their attire is more in a practice mode as compared to the other coaches in other sports.


  9. Sup_Palala June 12, 2019 12:07 pm

    Two incoming scholarship freshman from the same ‘ohana for UH athletics: Braelynn Akana (volleyball) and Jessiya Villa (basketball). Pretty cool.


  10. Jake Stone June 13, 2019 11:11 am

    Brian, great write up on Wahine Volleyball summer camps. Looking forward to a great and exciting season for the Wahine. The future is definitely bright and promising!! Hopefully, we can get the younger Akana sister (Keonilei) to stay at home as well. She could be a game changer.


  11. Sup_Palala June 17, 2019 2:50 pm

    @ Jake

    If you want Keonilei, you have to convince her to de-commit from USC first. Not impossible, maybe as she finishes her senior year and watches her sister play as a freshman she changes her mind she wants to continue to play with her? Possible.


  12. H-Man June 20, 2019 5:40 am

    I am excited about the two Texas commits, Kate Lang (setter) and Georgia Via (Libero). Need to stay focused.


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