By Cindy Luis
A couple of cool things have happened this week for Hawaii (state) volleyball.
The USAV recognized Kevin Wong as its outstanding male junior coach of the year and the 1964 pioneer Olympic volleyball teams' 50th anniversary. The Tokyo Olympics were the first to have volleyball and the first to have a women's team sport (volleyball)
Wong sited for his work with the state junior and high school beach program
Among those with Hawaii ties honored on the 50th anniversary were Pedro (Pete) Velasco, captain; former UHH coach Sharon Peterson; Verneda Thomas, who still refs; the late Gail O'Rourke Wong; and the late Mary Margaret Perry.
As for some of the things Shoji mentioned that didn't make our story Thursday.
He said the talk around the Big West is that everyone will be better, especially Long Beach State. And that UCI is better.
Asked him about Tai's Sunday commitment and that they only have one Sunday match. Said she won't play on Sundays but that her status wasn't a consideration when making the schedule. But said that Manu-Olevao needed to have a breakout year.
On Nikki Taylor: said she was going to take a lot of swings this year. not sure if she'll be in the passing rotation.
Said the other OH would be up for grabs. Said it will be someone who hasn't played a lot or one of the freshmen. Said that one position continues to be bothersome.
Did ask about Passi. Said she was in the mold of a Cubi-Otineru in how hard she swings and like Satele in terms of ball control. Undersized but powerful and needs to prove herself at DI.
Said the middles are proven in Adolpho and Magill. Said he loves his two incoming freshmen.
Koelisch will be the backup setter .. for now. may not be for the entire year. Also said they could run a 6-2. he likes his options to go bigger if needed. Koelisch is 6-0, Higgins 5-9
As for libero, Mendoza is the front runner but Kahakai will have the opportunity to win the job.
Asked if he had a chance to win it all this year. Said every year there is optimism and they always have enough good players to do so.
It will be his 40th season. Said it was hard to believe but he felt good. Summer will be about camps and going to watch his sons play when possible. Kawika and Erik both with the national team currently in Bulgaria.
U.S. won tonight over host Bulgaria 3-2. Shoji had eight digs.
Also on the roster Micah Christenson, who made his international debut as setter tonight.