HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Heading into preseason camp, the Rainbow Wahine say they knew that new head coach, Robyn Ah Mow-Santos, would demand a new level of intensity from the team. Tuesday afternoon, on day one of camp, the former All-American turned coach did not disappoint.
From the start of practice Ah Mow-Santos made it clear, there was no easing into preseason. She expected her team to open camp ready to work hard and already in-shape.
"I'm going to run practices longer," said Ah Mow-Santos. "Get our three hours in. [We're going] to get cardie more. More touches on the ball. More passing. More defense.
Sophomore setter, Norene Iosia, said none of that came as a surprise to her.
"Definitely with Robyn it's more intense. Everyone on the team has that vibe like we don't want to disappoint her," said the 2016 all-conference first-team honoree. "That's kind of the mood change here. Everyone is more locked in and focused."
While Ah Mow-Santos entered camp with a no nonsense attitude toward her team - she admits, the excitement she's had about returning to gym one as the head coach of the Rainbow Wahine has also been overwhelming for one of U.H.'s most accomplished former players.
"I was stoked," Ah Mow-Santos said with a smile. "I probably couldn't sleep like a little kid. I'm like 'Ok we got practice. What are we doing this whole day?' trying to get things ready... We're all fist bumping each other in the office like, 'we're starting soon, we're starting soon.' So, we're excited."
Ahead of media interviews, Ah Mow-Santos admitted she's been so busy preparing for camp she didn't even realize her team had been selected as the favorite to win the conference title in the Big West preseason poll which was released Tuesday morning. In fact, when filling out her selection for the ballot she admitted she had to call former head coach, Dave Shoji, for advice.
"When I got the email [with the ballot]... I was like, 'What does this mean?'," said Ah Mow-Santos. "So, guess who I had to call - Dave Shoji. I said, 'Hey Dave, did you have to every year fill out the poll?'"
Ah Mow-Santos laughed, saying she was concerned about who would see the poll. So, she asked her former coach, and U.H. legend, Shoji, for advice regarding how to complete it.
"We've got to pick ourselves to win," said Ah Mow-Santos. "We still got that fight behind us. So, I chose us first."
So, even in a year of transition for the Rainbow Wahine, some thing remain the same. The back-to-back reigning champion of the Big West we're overwhelmingly chosen to win the conference title for the third consecutive time in the 2017 preseason poll. They earned seven of nine potential first place votes.