These teams have a web of historical connections
POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Sep 09, 2010
LAST UPDATED: 01:54 a.m. HST, Sep 09, 2010
Homecoming takes on new meaning in Hawaii volleyball. Every team in this weekend's Verizon Wireless Rainbow Wahine Challenge is coming home in some way.
San Diego State, the Rainbow Wahine's opening opponent tonight, has the fewest Hawaii ties but the longest history here and most imposing presence. The Aztecs' second-year coach is Deitre-Collins Parker, the terminator on Hawaii's 1982 and '83 NCAA championship teams. The Olympian was the first volleyball player to win the Broderick Cup, symbolic of collegiate sports' finest female athlete.
"She was a great player in the program and a really nice lady," said UH captain Elizabeth Ka'aihue, who wasn't born in 1983.
"No," Ka'aihue acknowledged, "but I've had my history lessons on the Rainbow Wahine."
These teams in the Challenge are overwhelmed by historical ties that blind.
Collins played with Lee Ann Satele, whose daughter Chanteal played for Saint Mary's -- Hawaii's Saturday opponent. Chanteal transferred to UH this year.
Three-time All-American Diane (Sebastian) Pestolesi, who started on Hawaii's first national championship team in 1979, played with Collins and Satele in their early years. Sebastian's daughter, Kari, was an honorable mention All-American for UC-Irvine last year. The Anteaters face Hawaii tomorrow.
WAHINE VOLLEYBALLVerizon Wireless Rainbow Wahine Challenge
» When: Today through Saturday
There's more, and it gets complicated, and convoluted.
Nordyke is also UH coach Dave Shoji's neighbor. She and Erik Shoji, Dave's youngest son, share a long friendship and love of pingpong. Erik swears he has never lost to her.
Kawika Shoji, the older son, started hanging out with Tom Pestolesi recently to watch golf. Kawika is currently training with the U.S. national program in Southern California.
Nordyke, who has taken on a larger role for the Anteaters her senior year, also played with Ka'aihue, Kanani Danielson, Dani Mafua and Satele on the Hawaii club team, 'Imi 'Ike. So did Saint Mary's senior Kapua Kamana'o, an All-West Coast Conference setter whose sister Kanoe was an All-American in Manoa.
In January, Kanoe Kamana'o and Kala Ka'aihue -- Elizabeth's brother, of course -- were married, making them all in-laws.
"This," former 'Imi 'Ike and Wahine coach Ryan Tsuji said, "will be like a mini-reunion."
Not to forget Oahu Volleyball Club, where Hawaii sophomore Emily Maeda played with Risa Ka'awa, now the Cornell libero. Ka'awa is about the only one who won't be in the Stan Sheriff Center this weekend, but she was recruited by Collins when she coached the Big Red.
For Dave Shoji, all the interaction makes complete sense.
"These are all people who want to come here," he said. "Saint Mary's wanted to come for Kapua and Irvine because of Larissa. Deitre is always wanting to come back here."
He calls this a natural transition, particularly for kids who grew up in volleyball families.
"It's not the first time this has happened and won't be the last," he said. "It's nice to see them grow up, and now they're playing at a real high level."
That is where the sixth-ranked Rainbow Wahine want to return after Sunday's five-set loss to Southern California. Alexis Forsythe is again healthy, which gives Shoji the option of moving freshman Emily Hartong outside. Against USC, All-American Kanani Danielson had 21 kills and hit .275, while the two other outside hitting positions were a combined negative .130 with seven kills.
"We need more kills," Shoji said yesterday. "I haven't decided on a lineup yet."
» This is the 16th Challenge and Hawaii has won it 13 times, with a record of 43-2. The Wahine close their preseason next weekend with two matches against Brigham Young.
» San Diego State's only loss came against Utah State, which has won its first six for the first time since it ended the 1979 season by losing to Hawaii in the national final. UH opens its Western Athletic Conference season here against USU Sept. 23.
» Nevada beat Notre Dame last weekend to win the Nevada Invitational. St. Francis graduate Kylie Harrington was MVP and Kamehameha alum Tatiana Santiago all-tournament.