With no fans to play in front of during the 2021 season, the Hawaii men’s volleyball team has had to search from within to find extra motivation.
The Rainbow Warriors haven’t had to look very far. Former St. Francis and Hawaii Baptist Academy standout and current freshman Makua Marumoto has provided a spark on the bench for the ‘Bows, quickly becoming a favorite on the team for his antics.
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“It’s always something that you’re thinking about as a part of this program, your inner monologue being myself or what can I do? It more becomes, ‘What does the team need from me?’ I didn’t really think about this so much but then as soon as I stepped onto the court for the first time during the game, you really don’t realize how big the Stan is until you see it completely empty and it’s just huge,” Marumoto said. “You got a game going and you probably got 40 people in the Stan and it is empty and so if you’re just playing volleyball with 40 people, it’s almost dead in the building and so I quickly saw how I could affect our team’s energy level even from the bench.”
Marumoto hasn’t played yet during the 2021 season, a likely byproduct of the NCAA granting an extra year of eligibility to its student-athletes, which for UH meant an extra year for star players such as Rado Parapunov, Colton Cowell and Patrick Gasman. As Marumoto vies for more playing time in the coming years, he’ll continue to give his all in the role he’s currently committed to for this year’s team.
“I try to put everything out there for the team, all my energy that I’ve got,” he said. “I definitely have lost my voice after every home series. I would go home on Sundays and just nurse my voice back to health on Monday.”