A season of change is upon the Rainbow Wahine volleyball team this year.
Not only did they lose legendary head coach, Dave Shoji, to retirement last season, but one of their most prominent stars, All-American Nikki Taylor, has graduated. Now as the new season approaches, the Wahine will have to adapt to a new philosophy under new head coach, Robyn Ah Mow-Santos.
"Now maybe there's not just one person that the team needs to depend on,” Ah Mow-Santos said. “And now they're like 'ok, I'm going to be that person.' And they can step up.”
In 2016, the success of the Rainbow Wahine volleyball team was often largely hinged on the success of senior Taylor. Now with the All-American having graduated — the Wahine still have plenty of talent to rely on in the coming season.
However, when it comes to filling the void of the 6-foot-4 athlete, Ah Mow Santos says she is not looking to develop the program’s next big star. Instead, she’s hoping to change the culture of the team.
"I get how some college teams are geared solely around one person, but I don't know I guess it's just me and how I've been grown up playing that - there's a lot of people that can contribute,” Ah Mow-Santos said. “So hopefully we can get the two outside hitters contributing, we can get more passing - like better passing and defensive balls, so we can get everybody in the offense instead of going maybe high here and high there."
And Ah Mow-Santos has a well-rounded roster returning to implement that style offense including an All-American and two fellow first team all-conference honorees.
"We got (Emily) Maglio, probably one of our best players right now. Norene (Iosia) coming back, she’s got a lot of experience even though she's a sophomore. Savanah Kahakai, she's a veteran too,” she said. “So, we've got a veteran group coming back."
And the season is just around the corner - the Wahine open camp in early August - their first tournament is just about a month from now.
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