University of Hawaii Rainbow Wahine volleyball senior Kirsten Sibley leads with her unselfishness
Passion does not always equate to playing time. But love of the game? That always equates to willingness in accepting whatever role one is asked to play.
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Passion does not always equate to playing time.
But love of the game? That always equates to willingness in accepting whatever role one is asked to play.
Kirsten Sibley’s mark on the Hawaii women’s volleyball program won’t be visible in the Rainbow Wahine record books after the senior finishes her career this season. However, what the 6-foot-2 outside hitter will leave is a legacy of hard work and unselfishness, something that has been seen more often by her teammates in the practice gym than by the spectators during competition.
“Even though she doesn’t get on the court as much as we’d like her to be, she sets an example, especially for the younger players,” said libero Rika Okino, one of five Wahine who will be honored during Friday’s senior night festivities. “She comes in every day and works hard.
“This is what a leader is supposed to look like.”
Sibley has only appeared in six matches this season for No. 18 Hawaii (22-3, 12-2 Big West), just eight sets that were more like cameo appearances with three rotations once across the front line then out. Sometimes it was strictly as a blocking sub, sometimes to give the Wahine a bigger presence on the outside, sometimes never touching the ball.
Always without complaint.
“I understand my role on the team is whatever Coach Robyn (Ah Mow) needs,” said Sibley, who has played in 51 matches over four years. “I am so grateful to be here, be part of this team and part of such a historic program.
“What I hope I leave … I want people to understand that just because you’re not a starter that doesn’t make you a bad volleyball player. One of the most important things you can leave a program with is knowing you did your best, gave your best effort.”
Sibley, Okino and seniors Norene Iosia and McKenna Ross share a unique connection that goes beyond coming into together in the fall of 2016. They are the last to have been coached by Dave Shoji, the Hall of Famer who retired after the 2016 season, his 42nd with the program.
“I consider myself very lucky to have been coached by both Dave Shoji and Coach Robyn,” Sibley said. “It’s pretty crazy to think I was coached by such a legend like Dave. And Robyn has done such an amazing job filling his shoes. It’s exciting to see where the program is headed.”
If all goes according to plan this week, victories over Cal State Northridge today and Long Beach on Friday would give Hawaii the Big West title outright, the Wahine’s first since 2016, Sibley’s freshman year. It also could mean that Hawaii would host the first and second rounds of the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2013, when Sibley was a sophomore starter on the Campolindo High varsity team.
“Part of the ‘Campolindo Crew,’ ” said Sibley, referring to Cougar alums playing at Hawaii in current Wahine junior defensive specialist Janelle Gong and Warrior libero Gage Worsley, as well as recently graduated Warrior setter Joe Worsley.
Sibley was the second oral commit of the class of 2016. Coincidentally the first was Iosia, Sibley’s roommate freshman year and again this season.
“‘Sibs’ is the most unselfish teammate, most selfless player who I’ve ever come across,” said Iosia, playing at setter and hitter these past two seasons. “She’s one of the hardest workers I know.
“Her legacy is being that teammate who never had a bad attitude about playing time and did whatever the team needed.”
Sibley graduates in the spring with a degree in communications and journalism. She’ll be interning with Hawaii News Now next semester and would like to work in Hawaii in sports broadcasting.
But first things first.
“One of our goals was to host (the NCAA tournament),” Sibley said. “But if this week is the last time (in the Stan Sheriff Center), I am so grateful for the opportunity to play here. It’s almost a sacred place.
“We’re pretty excited for this week, enjoying senior night with all of our families. But in the back of our heads we’ve always been thinking about Pittsburgh.”
That is the site of the NCAA final four Dec. 19 and 21.