The AVCA Women’s Volleyball coaches preseason Top 25 was released Monday, and the University of Hawaii were picked at number-17, one spot better than they finished 2013.
UH’s returning starting unit is comprised of sophomore outside hitter and 2013 First-Team All-Big West selection Nikki Taylor, junior outside hitter Tai Manu-Olevao and senior middle Kalei Adolpho. Taylor burst onto the scene last year fresh out of a stellar prep career, finishing the season second on the team in kills (284) and third in blocks (83). Manu-Olevao was third on the team with 229 kills playing alongside Emily Hartong on the left side. Adopho, a three-year starter, finished second on the squad in blocks (98) last year behind all-conference selection Jade Vorster.
The other Rainbow Wahine returnees are senior defensive specialist Sarah Mendoza who will compete for the libero spot, junior outside hitters Ginger Long and Keani Passi, sophomore setter Taylor Higgins and sophomore defensive specialist Katiana Ponce.
Shoji also commented on the bitter end to the 2013 season. “I think about the loss (to BYU) a lot but we have eight new players who didn’t watch that and aren’t bogged down by it. Others remember it which may be a source of motivation for them, but the way the season ended isn’t a theme coming into camp.”
The ‘Bows, 25-5 and 13-3 last season in Big West Conference play, were picked this week to defend the share of the league title they won a year ago. The team will be also be eyeing a 20th straight league title and 33rd NCAA Tournament appearance.