Rainbow Wahine volleyball hopes chronicling past will help future Leave a Comment / Volleyball / By admin Mahalo for supporting the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Enjoy this free story! A stack of composition books was among the supplies Robyn Ah Mow had ready for the start of the training camp. The sixth-year University of Hawaii women’s volleyball coach believes in the power of putting pen to paper and encourages the Rainbow Wahine to express themselves through journaling. For the 10 UH returnees preparing for the coming season, it’s a process that started in the locker room at the Hec Edmundson Pavilion in Seattle last December. “I (told) them start now, get a journal, write about your feelings that day,” Ah Mow said of the moments following a loss to host Washington in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. “Even if it’s on a piece of paper from the hotel, write it down, keep it. “When you get to practices, think about that in the spring. Think about that last game.” The next phase in working to put words into practice starts today with the team’s first set of two-a-days in Gym 1 on the Lower Campus. The Wahine reported for meetings on Monday and have their first practice sessions of the season scheduled for this morning and afternoon. The two-time defending Big West Conference champions will grind through close to two weeks of double-days before embarking on the program’s first season-opening road trip since 2005 to play in the Texas A&M Invitational in College Station, Texas. The trip is part of a challenging non-conference schedule that includes matchups with four teams that reached the NCAA Tournament last season. After opening against host Texas A&M on Aug. 26, the Wahine face Pittsburgh (coming off a run to the Final Four) and San Diego over the next two days. The home schedule includes visits by UCLA and West Virginia. “I think that’s definitely our motivation for the preseason,” Riley Wagoner said of the schedule. “It’s really nice that we get to start off strong with some really good teams and it’ll just show what we’ve been working on all summer, and even from last year. So it’ll be a good showcase.” Coming off a 22-8 season, the UH returnees were able to go through a full set of spring workouts for the first time since 2019 before dispersing in May. Sophomore setter Kate Lang was among the Wahine players who stayed in town through the summer and a reminder of last season’s finale provided motivation leading into the start of camp. “(Ah Mow) told us after we lost to Washington in December … jot down exactly how you feel and be super honest because the only person that’s going to read it is yourself,” Lang said. “I have it in my backpack in the locker room right now and I’m so excited to read that again right before we start two-a-days. I remember exactly how I felt, but I’m really interested to see what I wrote down.” Long and middle blocker Amber Igiede returns after earning All-Big West first-team honors a year ago. Igiede figures to be a focal point of the UH attack after averaging 2.95 kills per set on .388 hitting and leading the team with 1.27 blocks per set. Lang posted 12 double-doubles in her freshman season and ranked second in the Big West with 10.36 assists per set. Wagoner, an outside hitter, ranked third on the team with 2.63 kills per set while starting 27 matches last season and is among seven outside hitters vying for spots in the rotation. Junior Braelyn Akana made 11 starts and Tiffany Westerberg had seven last year. Sophomore Annika de Goede, a 6-foot-3 opposite, had a promising series against USC last season before suffering a season-ending injury. She recovered in time for spring practices and played in the exhibition against Pepperdine in March. “I think everybody’s going to fight for, ‘I want to be one of those six people on the court,'” Ah Mow said of the competition that starts today. “Chemistry is a big (key) and just the skills — who can pass, who can play defense.” Setter Mylana Byrd started the first eight matches last season after transferring from Alabama and returns as the lone senior on this year’s roster. Tayli Ikenaga held the libero role for all 30 matches as a freshman last season. Six players, including Big West Player of the Year Brooke Van Sickle, have moved on through either graduation or transfer. The Wahine also restocked through the transfer portal with the additions of libero/defensive specialist Talia Edmonds (Michigan State), outside hitter Chandler Cowell (St. Mary’s) and middle blocker Kennedi Evans (Utah). The freshman class is comprised of outside hitter Caylen Alexander and setter Jackie Matias.