Rainbow Wahine Volleyball 2021 Position Breakdown: Pin Hitters

Sports

Brooke Van Sickle

Throughout the course of fall camp, HawaiiAthletics.com will provide a breakdown of the 2021 Rainbow Wahine volleyball team, position-by-position, as the team prepares for its season opener at Fairfield on Friday, Aug. 27. 

Freshman Hanna Hellvig announced she wouldn’t return to the team back in 2020, and that leaves the Rainbow Wahine’s leading scorer and attacker off the court, but redshirt senior Brooke Van Sickle returns and leads a young core of exciting pin hitters including three athletes with international club experience.

Returnees

Outside HitterHTYRStats
Brooke Van Sickle5-10R-Sr.202 kills, 2.43 k/s, .242 pct, 20 aces, 181 digs, 40 blks
Riley Wagoner6-0So.94 kills, 1.31 k/s, .134 pct., 7 aces, 148 digs, 34 blks
Tiffany Westerberg6-3So.47 kills, 1.21 k/s, .260 pct., 14 digs, 34 blks
Braelyn Akana6-0So.17 kills, 1.31 k/s, .250 pct., 1 ace, 12 digs, 8 blks

Newcomers

Outside HitterHTYRHometown (previous school)
Mia Johnson5-10Fr.League City, Texas (Clear Falls HS)
Martyna Leoniak6-3Fr.Warsaw, Poland (PZPS Szcyrk)
Ilayda Demirtas6-5Fr.Adana, Turkey (Gelisim College)
Annika de Goede6-3Fr.Nijmegen, Netherlands (Beekdal Lyceum)

Brooke Van Sickle – R-SR – 5-9 – Battle Ground, Wash. – Oregon
Van Sickle is the third-leading returning point-scorer from the 2019 team and returns the second-most kills from the 2019 squad with 202. Van Sickle’s 20 aces is the most by a returner this fall and her 2.18 digs per set is also the most from the 2019 team returning for 2021. Van Sickle was a 2019 All-Big West honorable mention, was named to the 2019 NCAA All-Regional team, named the Best Defender at the 2019 Baylor Classic and was a Scholar-Athlete in her first year at UH.

Riley Wagoner – SO – 6-0 – Dublin, Ohio – Dublin Coffman HS
Playing and/or starting in every non-conference game before Big West competition began, Wagoner had double-digit digs in five different non-conference matches (vs Army, Sacramento State, Utah Valley, Missouri, at Baylor). Wagoner posted her first double-digit kill total at CSUN in the first Big West trip of the year, while also collecting 10 digs for her first collegiate double-double. Wagoner tallied seven matches with 10-plus digs and ranked sixth on the team in total digs. The outside hitter returns the second-most digs from the 2019 team and also returns the fourth-most blocks on the team from 2019.

Tiffany Westerberg – SO – 6-3 – Maple Ridge, B.C., Canada – Maple Ridge Secondary
Transitioning from a middle blocker to an outside hitter/opposite hitter for 2021, Westerberg brings 6-3 size to the pin. As a true freshman in 2019, Westerberg tallied 64 kills and a .292 hitting percentage. Posted a season-high eight kills against Army early in 2019 and a season-high five blocks in the season opener against San Diego.

Braelyn Akana – SO – 6-0 – Hau’ula, O’ahu – Kamehameha-Kapalama
Appeared in six matches with one start against Cal Poly (10/11/19) and recorded 14 total kills during the 2019 season. Had a career-high match helping UH win a come-from-behind, reverse sweep over Cal State Fullerton (10/5/19) posting six kills and hitting .417 and four blocks.

Mia Johnson – FR – 5-11 – League City, Texas – Clear Falls HS
A 2020 Under Armour Girls High School All-American Honorable Mention selection and a 2019 Prep Volleyball Class of 2021 Top 50+ recruit, Johnson racked up the accolades as a prep and club volleyball player in the talent-rich volleyball state of Texas including a 2019 All-State selection. Johnson has recorded 235 kills in 56 sets thus far in the 2020 high school volleyball season.

From Coach Ah Mow: “Mia is a quick and athletic six rotation outside hitter that has the ability to consistently terminate and make plays defensively. She knows what it takes to be a successful student athlete and has shown she knows how to compete and win. Mia’s attitude, determination and work ethic is exactly the type of athlete we strive to have in our gym and we are confident she will continue those things here at UH.” 

Martyna Leoniak – FR – 6-3 – Warsaw, Poland – PZPS Szcyrk
A true freshman with three years of national team experience for Poland, Leoniak won the 2018 Polish Beach Volleyball Championship while being named the best attacker at the tournament. Leoniak and her indoor club team finished second at the Polish Championships in 2018 and 2020 and third in 2019.

From Coach Ah Mow: “Martyna is a long and smooth 6 rotation outside hitter who has an extremely high ceiling. She attacks the ball at a high contact point and can terminate at a high percentage. She brings the height and physicality needed to compete the moment she steps foot in our practice gym. Martynas extensive international experience has given her the opportunity to play at a high level at an early age and we are excited to see her grow into her own when she arrives at Manoa.”

Ilayda Demirtas – FR – 6-5 – Adana, Turkey – Gelisim College
Demirtas plays on the right side of the court, which is how she projects according to the coaching staff. Demirtas won Izmir Championship in 2019-20 and 2017-18 seasons and while placing third in the nation in 2017-18 season and runner up in the Izmir Championships in 2018-19, all with Gelisim College Sports Club.

From Coach Ah Mow: “A physical opposite that has played at a high level through her high school and club career in Turkey. She will add size to our front row block and has a heavy arm when attacking. We are extremely excited to see Ilayda grow into her own when she reaches Manoa and starts competing alongside her teammates when fall training camp begins in August.”

Annika de Goede – FR – 6-3 – Nijmegen, Netherlands – Beekdal Lyceum HS
De Goede has been a part of the Dutch national team since 2017 and has competed in two European Qualifiers and two European Championships for the Netherlands. Has competed in the highest league in the Netherlands, the Eredivisie, for three years with Talent Team Papendal.

From Coach Ah Mow: “Annika is a tall, agile lefty opposite that can score from all areas of the court and defensively puts up a big block. She has the ability to play 6 rotations which is something we look for in all pin hitters we go after. Annika has the height, international experience and skill set which will allow her to continue to be successful here at UH.” 

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