Former University of Hawaii women’s volleyball setter Norene Iosia left behind big shoes to fill after her senior season in 2019.
Iosia, who has a long list of accolades during her time as a member of the Rainbow Wahine, was also a two-time team MVP for the ‘Bows.
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When the Rainbow Wahine begin the 2021 season against Fairfield on Friday, it will have been 623 days since their most recent match. Although the team returns previous contributors such as Brooke Van Sickle, Amber Igiede and Skyler Williams, the setter position features an open competition between freshman Kate Lang and Alabama graduate transfer Mylana Byrd.
Competition for open positions is openly embraced among the team, and the dynamic between Lang and Byrd is no different.
“It’s good, I think competition and competing is a big thing in our gym,” Byrd said. “I think it’s also about competing as a team. I don’t shy away from saying, ‘Kate, this is what we need to do,’ or giving tips. We work together and once we get on the opposite side of the court, it’s competing and we’re going after it and we’re getting after it. We’re learning from each other at the same time.
“I think it’s also because we’re friends off the court. We know each other. There’s no hard feelings because I’m make you better, we’re making each other better. I think it’s just that friendly competition. It can always get heated but that’s fun. That’s what we like as athletes.”
The feeling is mutual for Lang. Whoever comes out on top of the setter competition will be named the starter, although both will see meaningful playing time early. Both understand that the goal is to make the team better.
“Everyday that I step in the gym I have to go one hundred percent. Mylana and I are great competitors but we’re also really great friends. I actually was able to live with her this summer so we got so close, and it’s so hard to compete against such a great friend but we definitely push each other in the right direction at all times. I’ve really loved the energy I get from her and I hope she loves the energy she gets from me.”
Starting rotations are anticipated to be held close to the vest ahead of opening night. First serve against Fairfield is scheduled for Friday at 7:00pm at SimpliFi Arena.
|HAWAI’I (0-0, 0-0 Big West) in Hawaiian Airlines Rainbow Wahine Classic|
|Date | Time | Opponent||vs Fairfield – Friday, August 27, 7:00 p.m. HT|
vs Marquette – Saturday, August 28, 7:00 p.m. HT
vs Texas A&M – Sunday, August 29, 5:00 p.m. HT
|Location||Honolulu, O’ahu — SimpliFi Arena at Stan Sheriff Center|
|TV||Spectrum OC16 | Kanoa Leahey (play-by-play), Lisa Strand (analyst)|
|Radio||ESPN Honolulu / Sideline Hawaii App|
|Game Notes||Hawai’i (PDF) | Fairfield | Marquette (PDF) | Texas A&M|
|Social Media||@HawaiiWVB | #HawaiiWVB #GoBows | @HawaiiWVB | Facebook|