Local volleyball fans got a glimpse of the past and the future on Saturday night at Vulcan Gymnasium when the 2017 Hawai‘i Hilo volleyball squad played a “friendly” against the UH Hilo alumni.
First-year head coach Gene Krieger introduced his team, which features eight returnees and eight newcomers. Over 30 former Vulcan players returned for a festive weekend, which included a match against each other at 4 p.m. and a tilt versus the varsity as the feature match.
The current Vulcans split with their predecessors two sets apiece in the pre-determined four-game match. The varsity won the first (25-16) and fourth (25-18) sets, while the alumni claimed the middle sets (25-23, 25-21).
Junior transfer Randi Hunter led the Vulcans with 11 kills with freshman Ashton Jessee right behind her with 10. Jessee had an attack percentage of .643. Mina Grant led the Vulcans with 14 digs and Basia Sauni added 32 assists.
For the alumni, 2016 First Team All-Pacific West Conference selection Marley Strand-Nicolaisen led all players with 19 kills. Two-time NAIA All-American Tanya Fuamatu (Anderson) added 14 kills and 14 digs. A UH Hilo Hall of Famer, Fuamatu played for the Vulcans from 1992-95.
The night match capped a fun weekend, which began with a social at the Grand Naniloa Hotel on Friday night. On Saturday, the alumni had morning practice and then treated the current team to a historical lesson regarding the mural on the gymnasium wall—which features the first of six Hawai‘i Hilo national championship teams.
Six of those featured on the wall were in attendance—former head coach Sharon Peterson, Carla Carpenter, Lyndell Lindsey, Sweetie Lindsey, Charlene Kahuanui and former athletic director Ramon Goya. Additionally, the original artist, Kathleen Kam, was here and shared the history of how the mural came to be.
A luncheon followed, sponsored by the Vulcan Booster Club.
The match was a tune-up for the Vulcans, who will begin its season on the road in the bay area for six matches, beginning with Holy Names on September 5.