Series finale: RS

A preface from me:

Although …. for the moment … Manu-Olevao has the edge at RS, as we’ve discussed before she will not being playing on Sundays due to her religious beliefs. That means she will sit out the San Diego match the first weekend and UC Riverside Sept. 29.

This is a personal decision by her and Shoji, while not happy as a coach,  is impressed by her convictions and supports her decision. The team also is supportive and that should be all that matters.

On that note, any negative comments regarding one’s religious choices — anyone’s, not just the players — will continue to be deleted. I’ve dealt with enough vitriol and the season hasn’t even started.


By Ann Miller in 8-23 paper

Playing right side in volleyball — opposite the setter — is a little like playing the middle, without the need for skates to keep darting along the net.

The right-side hitter stays on the line and takes a full approach, but the priority is to take out the terminator on the other side and provide a few offensive fireworks. Final four teams nearly always have an imposing right side capable of multiple kills.


The right-side hitters

» Tai Manu-Olevao, 6-0, So.

» Kaela Goodman, 6-1, Sr.

» Nikki Taylor, 6-3, Fr.

» Ginger Long, 5-11, So.

Hawaii’s only imposing right side is freshman Nikki Taylor, and she is third on the depth chart.

First up is Tai Manu-Olevao, an almost-as-inexperienced sophomore capable of scaling tall nets in a single bound. She could also start on the left side, which brings in senior Kaela Goodman — a designated blocker until now. Ginger Long, the most versatile of the bunch, is also in the mix.

What the Rainbow Wahine are looking for is an impact player, because to contend nationally, it is a necessity. They might settle for someone who can hit .300 and average a block and two or three kills a set. Passing is a bonus. They didn’t come close to finding it last year.

Manu-Olevao was activated in the middle of her redshirt season when Jane Croson was suspended. Head coach Dave Shoji believes she can be a “shut-down” blocker, and her quickness and jumping ability give her an advantage over the others.

“She came in and gave us valuable minutes last year but she really wasn’t ready,” Shoji says. “She did amazingly well for the amount of reps she got and experience she has.”

Shoji and associate coach Scott Wong say Manu-Olevao’s progress has been dramatic. In contrast, Goodman’s best qualities are her reliability and experience. She is also the only “natural right-sider” and has spent much of the last three seasons subbing in as a blocker, appearing in all but six matches on the right.

“She does a good job lining up on the hitter, a good job getting across the net,” Wong says. “She doesn’t jump through the roof, but she knows where to put her hands and the best place to put them is over the net.”

Shoji says Taylor is “close to contributing” on the left and right. Her size sets her apart, but so does her inconsistency. Her passing, at this stage, is not good enough to keep her in all six rotations. Right side is her best shot.

After 20 practices in 10 days, Wong has seen a different person than the club player he watched the past four years.

“She is really internalizing what we’re trying to change,” Wong says. “Nikki is a bubbly, fun person and now she is in a different environment and buckling down. She has the perfect demeanor — being focused on everything — but I told her she needs to talk more and give her teammates feedback.

“She’s got the height. It’s just a matter of digesting everything we give her and seeing how consistent she can be.”

Long offers the Wahine the most intriguing options. As a freshman, she was a hitter, defensive specialist and server. She is all that and more now, in part because she was so successful during the sand season.

“She is really athletic, but a little small,” Wong says. “Beach volleyball gave her a lot of confidence. She’s a different player. She’s talking all the time, having a blast. She seems like a senior out there. She was one of our best beach players, had a lot of success and that gave her a little more of an edge to play off of. Her thing is she is good at almost everything. It’s just a matter of being consistently good.”


  1. LC August 23, 2013 8:03 am

    Someone has thin skin this morning.

  2. Cindy Luis August 23, 2013 8:53 am

    Not really. But do not need a religious debate or hate.

  3. roofer68 August 23, 2013 8:53 am

    Cindy, thanks for taking a stand of one’s personal beliefs, it was getting a little trying at times. I see the two Sunday matches as an opportunity for especially Ginger and Nikki to show what they can do in real match situations. I’ve seen players not especially outstanding in practice, play lights out when given the chance to play in real match situations. We may have a preview this Saturday.

  4. oldtimer808 August 23, 2013 9:33 am

    Good for you Cindy. Too many idiots out there making idiotic remarks.

  5. Dedicatedfan August 23, 2013 9:35 am

    Cindy please do not delete, until you have read this all. I have nothing against Olevao and her beliefs, it is in her right. But, it is now imperative that the Wahines are one of the Top 16 seeds. Hate to see what the NCAA would do with the Wahines, if they are not a Top 16 seed. Knowing what the NCAA committee has done to the Wahines in the past, it would not surprise me if they have them playing a Saturday, and Sunday, 1st and 2nd round matches. And probably against a strong team in the 2nd round. The idea of playing a 2nd round against a strong team, without the services of Olevao does not bold well. I know this is just conjecture, but just remember what the NCAA committee has done to the Wahines, in the recent past, is not good. So Wahines, just go out and be a Top 16 seed team, take it out of the NCAA committees hands. That way, you can play the 1st and 2nd round on the days you want, with a full complement of players.

  6. tako August 23, 2013 9:37 am

    Cindy – thanks… After reading the series articles, we are in for lots of excitement. I am rooting for Emily Hartong to have a huge season and with the leadership of the seniors to carry them the NCAA final game.

  7. Dedicatedfan August 23, 2013 9:41 am

    Cindy, sorry for the duplication, did not realize the first one took. You may delete either one, but please do not delete both.

  8. LC August 23, 2013 10:01 am

    Post deleted

  9. Cubicle1126 August 23, 2013 10:03 am

    Tai’s sitting out on Sundays for practices and games really is intriguing. It’s the first such accommodation (at least that I can remember) for a player in the UH vball program. Even Shoji saying it’s the first time he’s encountered the situation … and he’s been around a long time.

    I don’t remember this being an issue last season — Did Tai not participate on Sunday matches and practices then?

    I don’t see the big deal with a member of the LDS religion playing and practicing on Sundays. I know plenty of LDS (relatives and friends) who work on Sundays (partly out of necessity). There are a ton of Mormons in the NFL, who all play on Sundays (Steve Young was probably the most notable one).

    That said, I certainly respect Tai’s decision. Each person is different. And among my LDS relatives and friends, they all certainly run the full gamut of devout practitioners to the not-so-devout. This definitely adds an additional challenge for the coaches. But Shoji and his staff have had to contend with more complicated issues through the years (last season being a prime example). I have faith (pun intended) that the coaches and the team will adjust to this situation with no problems.

  10. Cindy Luis August 23, 2013 10:18 am

    6. agree that who knows what the NCAA would do but they have taken account BYU when it comes to the NCAA tournament. However BYU has it as an institution-wide policy. This would be a single player on one team. If UH can be Top 16, they dictate the schedule.

  11. Dedicatedfan August 23, 2013 10:21 am

    I am now real curious to see what happens if Dave does retire before Olevao finishes her career with the Wahines. Will the new HC allow Olevao to miss practices and matches, on Sunday. Big Question, indeed.

  12. Dedicatedfan August 23, 2013 11:20 am

    10. Cindy, it is the 2nd round that I am concerned about. As far as my recollection is, the Regionals have either been played on a Thurs.-Fri., or Fri.-Sat., never on a Sat.-Sun. The Final Four has always been Thurs & Sat. So the Regionals and Final Four, do not come into play.

  13. Cindy Luis August 23, 2013 11:41 am

    rarely have they been played on a Sat-Sun. UH has a clear weekend to host Fri-Sat since it’s required to be on consecutive nights. Wouldn’t worry about something that may or may not happen five months from now.

  14. chink August 23, 2013 11:42 am

    side note…
    Sand and indoor?? recruits Kendra Koelsch (9) and Gina Guinnaso (11) in the finals of the Ann Kang Invitational.

    HB vs PUN

  15. chink August 23, 2013 11:46 am

    ** correction, Koelsch is #2

  16. Cindy Luis August 23, 2013 11:52 am

    not sure if either is going to play indoor. could be wrong but the move is to have not much cross-over.

  17. Cindy Luis August 23, 2013 11:56 am

    BTW, there was a comment a while back on a ‘new’ Wahine Audrey and something that started with a C. Asked Wong about her. He said he had never heard of her and definitely not one of his recruits. Perhaps she is a commit at UHH or HPU and her club website got it wrong? She isn’t on either roster for 2013.

  18. ohaibill August 23, 2013 12:01 pm

    The way this is unfolding makes me believe that Tai taking Sundays for church and family will be nothing but a positive opportunity for this team and come playoff time it will be one of many factors creating a team that will be very dangerous.
    It’s going to be a wonderful year, as they all are and thanks to all the girls for choosing to come to UH, work so hard to gain a college education and play great volleyball. I hope you all know that even if you aren’t a star or a starter it’s been heartwarming watching you all grow.
    With much appreciation
    Aloha Pumehana

  19. Cindy Luis August 23, 2013 12:34 pm

    to clarify one thing. As far as I know Manu-Olevao will be on the bench these two matches. She may or may not be in uniform. will ask.

  20. mainlandgal August 23, 2013 1:47 pm

    #14 — from what I remember, Koelsch is Sand only and Guinnaso Sand for sure, possibly both.

  21. Cindy Luis August 23, 2013 3:28 pm

    and some may depend if NCAA changes its scholarship vs. walk-on participation for each sport

  22. Grammy August 23, 2013 5:51 pm

    I find it a sign of maturity and inner strength that a young woman can be committed to a larger concept in her life. I know she will also be committed to the Wahine, too. And her choice/non participation will provide others to step up in “real” games. It can only make the whole team better and closer. The seniors would not allow the two games be played in disarray and confusion. Moreover, Coach Dave has more than enough ploys and strategies and players to compensate for this ‘preknown’ situation. So Go Wahine!

  23. bowsfan August 23, 2013 5:52 pm

    #20 – Koelsch and Guinnaso played great at the Ann Kang. Koelsch played S/OH in the same game and they used 2 setters and Guinnaso from some website has her as our L.

  24. Purple&Green August 23, 2013 6:34 pm

    Yeah, she 86ed my “LDS is NOT..” post also. 😉
    Funny but why isn’t any of the discussion today centered on Dave’s RS prospect(s)??

    Taylor’s position–above ALL; for UH WVB post 2013 profitability–needs settlement so that others ahead/behind can be strategically maneuvered *LS or RS*.

    I completely LOVE the idea of UH’s 2013 formidability being @ MB, tho.
    The three famously fit the University of Hawai’i Na Wahine “mold”, IF you will.

  25. Purple&Gold August 23, 2013 6:46 pm

    Agreed! 😉

    Manu-Olevao and part-time sub Ponce are solid @L2.
    Goodman, SR, with full sub Lelepali are also solid at OPP.

    Kaela was something fierce opening up against Stanford in da SSC (2012).
    There’s no reason why she couldn’t be just the same against Texas on the 30th.

    The 2013 partnership was just ugly/detrimental from the get go.
    Kastl and Croson took MANY ‘bruisings’ in the sandbox. 😉

  26. Purple&Gold August 23, 2013 7:02 pm

    Manu-Olevao and part-time sub Mendoza are solid @L2.

  27. Purple&Green August 23, 2013 7:04 pm

    Manu-Olevao and part-time sub Mendoza are solid @L2.

  28. Hot August 24, 2013 1:17 am

    If we are to go by the SA article, Kayla Kawamura will see the court ahead of Sarah Mendoza, Courtney Lelepali and Katiana Ponce.

  29. Cindy Luis August 24, 2013 6:18 am

    Yes, P&G, I did delete it. thanks for taking it in stride.
    27. I believe that will be the case Hot. Kawamura has been very impressive in practice.
    24. Don’t know if the partnership was ugly but the level of experience between the two was very large.
    Croson was in a class by herself so hard for anyone to rise to her level quickly enough this season.
    The whole team took plenty bruisings this season.

  30. Cindy Luis August 24, 2013 6:58 am

    9. agree that some members follow the tenants more than strictly than others. Open to personal interpretation. Don’t remember it being an issue last year but, then, Manu-Olevao was a redshirt until Croson was suspended and they had to activate her.
    Shoji has had LDS players before but this is the first, he said, with the resting on Sunday situation. Said he personally had no problem with it and that she also understood that it could put her behind, both from the practice and playing stand point.
    Wilton didn’t hold practices and didn’t play on Sundays when he was coaching the UH men. I do remember that Mikey Wilton didn’t compete in a junior international tournament that was held in Klum Gym during his high school years because it was on a Sunday.

  31. Purple&Green August 24, 2013 11:49 am

    I’m looking/yearning for nothing but “pure” passers. 😉

  32. Purple&Green August 24, 2013 11:52 am


    Ku’ulei not only played for the Haili WVB Team, but she was raised in Haili Congregational as her ‘home’ base.

    Why she married otherwise is beyond me.

Comments are closed.