COLLEGE STATION, Texas—The University of Hawai’i women’s volleyball team opens the 2022 season on the road for the first time since 2005 and just the fifth time in program history. Hawai’i will be competing in the high-powered Texas A&M Invitational from Friday, Aug. 26-Sunday, Aug. 28 at the Reed Arena in College Station, Texas. The Rainbow Wahine will be taking on the host Aggies, sixth-ranked Pitt, and 25th-ranked San Diego in the three-day tournament.
  

HAWAI’I (0-0, 0-0 Big West) at Texas A&M Invitational
Date | Time | OpponentFriday, Aug. 26 6:00 a.m. HT – Hawai’i at Texas A&M
Saturday, Aug. 27 11:00 a.m. HT – Hawai’i vs. No. 6 Pitt
Sunday, Aug. 28 5:00 a.m. HT – Hawai’i vs. No. 25 San Diego
LocationCollege Station, Texas — Reed Center
Tournament Centralhttps://12thman.com/feature/invitational
Live StreamFRIDAY ONLY – SEC Network (CLICK HERE)
RadioALL THREE GAMES – ESPN Honolulu (1420 am / 92.7 FM) | Tiff Wells – Play-by-Play
Live Audio StreamESPNHonolulu.com  | Sideline Hawaii App
Live State12thman.com
Game NotesHawai’i  |  Texas A&M  |  Pitt  |  San Diego
Social Media@HawaiiWVB  | #HawaiiWVB #GoBows | @HawaiiWVB  | Facebook 


HAWAI’I VS. TEXAS A&M Series History: UH leads Texas A&M, 7-1
Streak: UH won 3
Head Coach: Laura “Bird” Kuhn (Fifth Season)

  • Last season, the Aggies started the season in Hawai’i competing in the Hawaiian Airlines Rainbow Wahine Classic. UH swept TAMU in a close match (8/29/21), 25-23, 25-21, 25-23.
  • TAMU has come to Honolulu a total of seven time–including an appearance in the 1999 NCAA Regional when the Aggies defeated the ‘Bows in four sets (9-15, 15-12, 9-15, 12-15)
  • The one and only time UH played in College Station was in the 2015 NCAA Second Round (12/5/15). The ‘Bows swept the Aggies (25-22, 25-19, 25-20) to advance to the NCAA Regionals in Minnesota.

HAWAI’I VS. PITT Series History: UH leads 4-0
Streak: UH won 4
Head Coach: Dan Fisher –  (10th season)

  • The first three matches between UH and Pitt were played in the 1970’s.
  • In the most recent meeting (9/5/99), UH swept the Panthers in their last meeting which was on 9/5/99.
  • Pitt’s head coach Dan Fisher served as a University of Hawai’i men’s volleyball associate coach from 2009-11 and started his collegiate playing career at UH in 1995. 
  • While at UH, Fisher coached UH’s current assistant coach Nick Castello in 2011. 

HAWAI’I VS. SAN DIEGO Overall record: UH leads 5-3
Streak: USD won 1
Head Coach: Jennifer Petrie (24th sesaon)

  • In 2019, UH played the Toreros twice in Honolulu. The ‘Bows opened the season with a thrilling five set win (19-25, 25-20, 2516, 19-25, 15-10) to open the season in the Hawaiian Airlines Rainbow Wahine Classic. The two teams clashed again in UH’s final home game of 2019. UH swept 20th-ranked San Diego (25-23, 25-21, 25-21) in the NCAA Second Round at the Stan Sheriff Center to advance to the NCAA Regionals in Wisconsin.
  • Last season, San Diego handily swept UH (13-25, 17-25, 19-25) in at the Utah Classic tournament (9/3/19) in Salt Lake City, Utah.

HEAD COACH ROBYN AH MOW Overall record: 86-29 (Fifth season)
At Hawai’i: Same
Big West: 60-8 (Fifth Season)

UH head coach Robyn Ah Mow enters her fifth season (sixth overall – BWC did not play in 2020 due to COVID-19). Overall she has an 86-32 record and a 60-8 mark in the Big West Conference. She was voted BWC Coach of the Year the last two seasons (Co-Head Coach in 2019) and was named the 2019 AVCA Pacific North All-Region Coach of the Year. The two-time first team AVCA All-American and three time Olympian setter took over the program following legendary head coach Dave Shoji. Ah Mow has led her alma mater to back-to-back Big West titles. Last year, the ‘Bows upset SEC runner-up, No. 24 Mississippi State in the NCAA First Round (in Seattle, Wash.) in a five set thriller, 17-25, 25-14, 25-13, 21-25, 15-11. Ah Mow led UH to four consecutive NCAA Tournaments, extending UH’s streak to 28-straight and 39 overall NCAA appearances

NEWS & NOTES

  • Picked to Finish First in Big West – On Monday, the Big West’s Preseason Coaches’ Poll was released and Hawai’i was voted to finish first, edging out conference rival UC Santa Barbara. UH received six first-place votes from the 11 conference head coaches for 96 points. The Gauchos garnered five first place votes and tallied a total of 94 points. Cal Poly came in third with 79 points and Long Beach State tallied 75. In the 10 seasons since rejoining the Big West in 2012 (the BWC did not play in 2020), UH has been voted to finish first eight times—including the last two and has won the BWC crown in four of the last six seasons.
  • Igiede, Lang Selected To Big West Preseason Team – Hawaii’s two returning all-Big West first team players—Amber Igiede and Kate Lang—both were selected to the Big West Preseason Team as voted on by the head coaches. Igiede, a 6-3 junior middle blocker, led the ‘Bows and finished fourth in the Big West with 316 kills and a .388 hitting percentage while coming in third with 135 total blocks. She also recorded 113 digs and was one of two Rainbow Wahine to start all 30 matches. Lang, UH’s sophomore setter, concluded 2021 atop the Big West rankings with 10.36 assists per set. Lang dished out 901 total assists and finished the year with 12 double-doubles while recording 50+ assists on three occasions.
  • Igiede Providing Power – Two-time all-Big West first team middle blocker Amber Igide returns for her junior year. The native of Baton Rouge, La., earned AVCA All-Region honorable mention honors this past season and was selected as one of the country’s top 38 collegiate players to the United States Women’s Volleyball National Collegiate Team. In 2021, Igiede and libero Tayli Ikenaga were the only two UH players to start all 30 matches. As a sophomore, she raised her level of play exponentially across the board statistically. Igiede led UH with in hitting percentage, 24 block solos, 111 block assists, 135 total blocks while averaging 1.26 blocks/set. Last year she became the first UH middle blocker since 2002 to record over 100 digs (113) since Lauren Duggins (190) accomplished the feat. For the season, she recorded 17 double-digit kill matches and put down at least three kills in every 2021 match. For her career, Igiede has registered at least one kill and one block in all 60 career matches she has played.
  • Lang Setting the Pace – Setter Kate Lang returns for her sophomore campaign after earning All-Big West First Team and Freshman Team honors a year ago. She started the last 22 straight matches and appeared in all but two UH matches in 2021. She finished the season ranked No. 1 in the Big West and No. 45 in the NCAA averaging 10.36 assists/set while posting a team-best 901 total assists to go with 233 digs and 11 service aces. She dished out a career-high 58 assists and recorded a career-high two service aces in a four-set win at UC San Diego (10/8/21)
  • Wagoner Reloaded For the Fall – Junior outside hitter Riley Wagoner is locked and loaded for the indoor season after earning Big West honorable mention honors in beach volleyball this past spring. Last year, Wagoner started 27 matches and recorded career-bests with 255 kills, 2.6 kills/set, 231 digs, 2.4 digs/set, and 10 service aces. She tallied four double-doubles, which included Wagoner’s best statistical match at UC San Diego where she finished with a career-high 20 kills and 15 digs with three blocks, and a .314 (20-4-51) hitting percentage. She tallied 11 double-digit kill matches and nine double-digit dig matches for the year.
  • Westerberg Filling Two Roles – After coming into UH as a freshman middle blocker/outside hitter in 2019, current junior Tiffany Westerberg focused on playing primarily at the pins as a sophomore in 2021. This year with the Rainbow Wahine thin in the middle Westerberg has slid back into the middle and hasn’t missed a beat after working hard this past off season. During her UH career the Maple Ridge, B.C., Canadian has appeared in 38 matches over her first two seasons. She has 125 kills and 63 total blocks in her career combining her time in the middle and the outside. Last year, after seeing limited action thru the first 20 matches, Westerberg finished strong, tallying 53 kills in the last eight regular season matches to help solidify the lineup as the ‘Bows captured their second-straight Big West title.
  • Akana Ready to Roll – Junior Braelyn Akana returned this season thinking primarily she’d be playing at outside hitter. But Akana, who began her UH career as a combo OH/MB, may circle back to play some middle at some point. Last year, she appeared in 16 matches while starting 11. For the season, she put down 63 kills while averaging 1.7 kills/set. At UC Irvine (10/9/21), Akana put down a career-high  11 kills. Akana is the third, second generation Rainbow Wahine volleyball player. Her mother, Joselyn (Robins) Akana was an outside hitter for the ‘Bows from 1993-96. Her father also played collegiate athletics, competing at BYU-Hawai’i on their men’s basketball team. He also served as an assistant men’s basketball coach for Hawai’i at UH.
  • Setters Return to Texas – UH’s lone senior Mylana Byrd along with fellow setter Kate Lang have been looking forward to showing Texas off to their Hawai’i teammates since the schedule was set. Byrd, a native of Houston, transferred to Hawai’i the Spring of 2020, spent her first two collegiate seasons setting at Alabama. In 2021, the 6-2 setter started the first eight matches of the season, racking up 267 assists, 72 digs and 15 total blocks. Although Byrd has been in the islands for almost three years, she and Lang are excited to take the team to get a taste of Texas life. Lang went to Keller High School in Keller, Texas and played for the Texas Advantage Volleyball (TAV) clug team which she helped lead to a pair of national titles (2017, ’19).
  • Battle in the Backrow – Returning starting libero Tayli Ikenaga and redshirt junior transfer Talia Edmonds have been pushing each other through UH’s two-a-days this fall. Last year as a true freshman, Ikenaga started all 30 matches and led UH with 347 digs (3.24 D/S), 111 assists and 12 service aces. She recorded a team-best 18 double-digit dig matches and had three matches with 20+ digs–including a career-high 24 against Cal State Fullerton (10/3/21).
  • de Goede Returns to Action – Last year as a true freshman, Annika de Goede had an outstanding series against Southern California. In two matches, she put down 19 kills in 39 swings for a .359 hitting percentage. In all, the Netherlands native played just four early matches before she suffered a season ending injury that allowed her to obtain a medical redshirt for 2021. De Goede has come back healthy and is ready to roll.
  • Filling the Void left by Van Sickle, Williams – The 2022 Rainbow Wahine will need to fill the giant void left by five letterwinners not returning—most notably 2021 BWC Player of the Year, outside hitter Brooke Van Sickle and all-BWC middle Skyler Williams. Van Sickle was solid in all facets of the game, leading UH with 384 kills (3.73 K/S), 38 service aces and 460.5 total points. On defense she was second on the team finishing with 324 digs and at the net, was the highest ranked UH non-middle blocker with 63.0 total blocks (.61 BLK/S). Williams was a four-year fixture in the middle of the UH’s front line. The two-time all-BWC first team honoree finished 2021 strong, finishing with 94.0 blocks and 196 kills as the other half of UH’s twin towers in the middle attack with Igiede.
  • Junior Transfers Bring Years of Experience & Maturity – Hawai’i added three redshirt juniors to their roster in 2022. All three had extensive playing time at their previous schools and brought a wealth of experience into the UH gym upon arrival. All three had taken a red-shirt year plus the COVID year. So, all three players have already graduated with their Bachelor’s degrees and and still have two seasons left of eligibility.
    • First to sign with UH was Talia Edmonds who played two full seasons at Michigan State where she served as a captain in 2021. The Kalamazoo, Mich.-native appeared in 58 career matches for the Spartans while recorded 298 digs, 60 assists, and 25 service aces. Last year she led the Spartans with 238 digs. For Edmonds this has been a return to her Hawai’i roots. Her mother Peka (Malae) Edmonds was raised in Honolulu and was an All-American volleyball player at the University of Hawai’i-Hilo who won four consecutive NAIA championships. Currently, the younger Edmonds is enrolled at UH as a post-baccalaureate student who is working towards entering the social work Master’s program.
    • Maui native Chandler Cowell is returning home after the athletic pin-hitter spent her first few years at St. Mary’s (CA). In 2021, Cowell had her best season as a Gael with 219 kills, 2.52 kills/set (tied with Elena Baka), and 260.0 total points. For her career, Cowell recorded 391 kills (2.43 k/s), 306 digs, 70 total blocks, 31 service aces, 36 assists and 460.5 total points (2.86 p/s). She earned her Bachelor’s degree in communications this past Spring and has begun pursuit of her Master’s degree in communications at UH. Chandler is the younger sister of UH men’s volleyball standout Colton Cowell.
    • UH’s final transfer joined the team right before the start of fall camp. Kennedi Evans, a 6-2 middle, will provide much needed depth at middle blocker. Evans, who hails from Twin Falls, Idaho transferred to UH from Utah where she competed in 57 career matches while recording 226 kills and 32.5 blocks. Evans earned her bachelor’s degree in business administration from Utah and has begun her master’s degree at UH’s Shidler College of Business.
  • Freshmen Looking to Make an Impact – Hawai’i’s two true freshmen, outside hitter Caylen Alexander and setter Jackie Matias, are looking to prove their mettle this year. Alexander shined in last week’s “open practice” during 6-of-6 portion of the practice. The high-flying pin hitter saw action on both ends of the net. She has volleyball in her genes as her mother played collegiately at Huston-Tillotson and Howard University. Alexander was coached by her mom at Centennial High School in Georgia.
  • Geographical Diversity – The 2022 UH squad is one of the most geographically diverse ever, featuring players from eight states (Hawai’i, California, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Michigan, Ohio, Texas) and three countries (Canada, Hungary and the Netherlands).