Punahou alum have taken over the UH Women’s Volleyball Team.
“It’s kind of neat because usually they say Punahou kids will go away and they don’t want to go to UH. But, these four really wanted to come here and play for us,” said Rainbow Wahine Head Coach Dave Shoji.
This is the first time that four athletes from the same high school have played simultaneously for Shoji. Outside hitters Tai Manu-Olevao and McKenna Granato, setter Tayler Higgins and libero Claire Marie Anderson are all graduates of Punahou.
“It was cool, because you know we are coming from the same place, with the same coaches and we have the same style, said Manu-Olevao.
“Sometimes you just want to say something that only people from Punahou would get and uh you look around and you are like, ‘Oh...do you remember this or do you remember this person?’ So it’s nice,” said Higgins.
So what’s inspiring the influx of Buffanblu players to go to college five minutes away?
“It’s definitely the culture that Shoji has built, definitely the program he has built. I believe that has caused so much attention, positive for a lot of local girls wanting to to see if they have a shot at making the team,” said Punahou head girl’s volleyball coach Tanya Fuamatu-Anderson.
The comfortability of playing with their high school teammates has also played a role.
“The transition wasn’t too bad, but having the familiar faces was definitely good,” said Granato.
Claire Marie Anderson: “I know I talked to Higgs and she was having a great time so it influenced me and I remember talking to McKenna. So, I think we have all had really good experiences here so far,” said Anderson.
Experiences that will no doubt sway future generations of Buffanblu players to one day compete at UH too.
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