The University of Hawaii women’s volleyball team picked up its first recruit for the class of 2022 when Punahou junior setter Jackie Matias announced on social media that she is verbally committing to both the ‘Bows indoor and beach volleyball programs.
“I’ve just grown up watching all the UH teams plays so it’s just been really inspirational, I guess you can say. I’ve grown up the whole way and I’ve always seen them have very strong teams. Both of my parents went to UH on a scholarship, so I felt like it was the best fit for me. The program is just going to keep getting better and better and I really want to be a part of that,” Matias said. “My family is very well known for baseball because of my dad. I can’t wait to carry out my own legacy there.”
If the last name Matias sounds familiar to UH fans, Jackie’s father, John, is Hawaii baseball’s all-time home run leader, smashing 30 from 1985 to 89. Jackie’s mother also went to the University of Hawaii on scholarship as a Rainbow Dancer during the same time her dad was putting himself in the record books.
“When I first started the recruiting process, I wanted to go away. I thought I’ve lived in Hawaii my whole life. I want to go away, but as we got into the end of my recruiting process, I found it would be the perfect fit for me,” she said. “The whole culture is really important. Not all programs have that like we do here in Hawai’i. That was a huge factor in my decision.”
When the Punahou product arrives on campus in two years, she will be very busy, splitting her time between both volleyball programs. She knows it will be a stressful challenge, but ultimately, she sees it as advantage for her all-around game.
“Indoor helping with beach is really helpful to read the plays and look at the hitter’s arm. We learned that growing up in indoor, so that was really easy to transition to beach,” she said. “Beach, you have to be an athlete and just go. You have to be able to make plays, make it happen. It gives me some grit in indoor. It’s a dream to be able to do both at two incredible programs.”
If it weren’t for the COVID-19 pandemic, the girl’s high school volleyball season on the islands would be in full swing. Matias is doing her best to adjust to the lack of organized practices and games, even convincing her power-hitting father to run her through drills.
“It was pretty tough to find ways to stay in shape and get volleyball in,” she said. “As (the pandemic) kept going longer and longer, my parents and I decided I needed to get a catching net so I can do some reps and get something in. We also made a home gym basically now. I can keep up with my workouts.”
The junior is entering this prep season as the Buffanblu’s starting setter for the first time. Last year, she was inserted into the starting lineup in the state tournament and produced immediately. Her back-to-back 30-assist games in the semifinals and championship games gave fans a glimpse of what the future holds for Punahou, as well as UH.
“I really want kids to see the possibility and potential to stay home,” she said. “It’s a great program and coaching. It’s a really great possibility and I’m proud to be a part of it.”