[ WAHINE VOLLEYBALL ]
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They return, not just for the competition, but for the camaraderie and the laughs. They share the latest exploits of their children -- and grandchildren for some. There are always lots of hugs and kisses and BenGay, as well as tears of joy and sorrow.
Tonight's annual alumnae match for the Hawaii women's volleyball team brings together players from four decades of the most successful athletic program at the Manoa campus. Out of the 24 who have committed to play, eight can look up in the rafters of the Stan Sheriff Center knowing they were part of teams that hung the four championship banners.
Who: No. 2 Hawaii (14-1, 2-0) vs. Nevada (8-8, 2-1)
When: Tonight, 7 p.m. Alumnae match, 5 p.m.
Where: Stan Sheriff Center
Television: KFVE (Ch. 5)
Radio: KKEA 1420-AM
Green: Terry Malterre, Chastity Nobriga, Diana McInerny-McKibbin, Linda Fernandez, Tehani Miyashiro, Marilyn Moniz-Kaho'ohanohano, Bobbie Perry, Sista Palakiko Beazley, Mary Robins Hardy, Tanja Nikolic, Lisa Strand Maa, Paula Jenkins. Joey Miyashiro (coach) and Heidi Hemmings Hall (coach).
White: Karrie Trieschman Poppinga, Karolyn Kootnekoff, Marcie Wurts Nowack, Nena Costales Gusman, Aven Lee, Cheryl Grimm, Shelly Kim, Kelly Knowles, Toni Nishida, Heidi Ilustre, Hedder Ilustre, Lani Eliazar, Beth McLachlin (coach) and Dean Nowack (coach).
But whether their careers included a commemorative ring, all know they played a part in a very successful tradition. The women have only to look at the thousands of fans who will filter in early, prior to the 7 p.m. Western Athletic Conference match between No. 2 Hawaii (14-1, 2-0) and Nevada (8-8, 2-1).
"Every time we have an alumnae match, I think about the history of our program and how many people have come through it," said Wahine assistant Kari Anderson (1991-94). "It's an honor to see all the people who have been involved in this program. There is a lot of respect for those from the younger teams of the 1970s and '80s. They really built this program.
"Times have changed and our athletes today are very lucky, they have a lot of things those younger teams did not. I enjoy hearing about what those early teams went through, the way they used to travel, their brutal schedule. They played for the love of the game. And it's why they come back now, they still have the love for the game."
The rosters for the Green and White teams are not set. UH senior woman administrator Marilyn Moniz-Kaho'ohanohano, who played for UH from 1972 to '75, expected to add players and juggle the rosters to balance out the teams up until almost game time.
"It's nice to see the old faces and see the newer faces, like Hedder (Ilustre)," UH coach Dave Shoji said of one of the Wahine's newest alumna. "Some of them have stayed pretty close and it's another opportunity to tell stories.
"I get a kick out of seeing their kids, some of whom take after their moms, and some of the dads who also played here. You have the Sateles, the Spencers, the Jenkins ... all of them following in their footsteps."
Anderson said she enjoys meeting some of the legends of the program. She was in awe of Deitre Collins, now the coach at UNLV, and excited to meet Teee Williams.
"I was in Minneapolis for the final four in 1988," said Anderson, a native of Minnesota. "I remember the crowd yelling 'Teee' every time she went up to hit the ball. I was just a sophomore in high school and it's amazing to think I ended up here, playing and working.
"I also think it's pretty cool when the players reminisce about Dave, how much he's changed over the years. Obviously, he has stories about how the players and the game has changed through the generations."
Very likely the players from Shoji's early teams would have been surprised at how loose practice was yesterday. The Wahine wore bandannas on their heads or headbands for reasons unclear to their coach, who was sporting a new haircut.
"Don't ask me," Shoji said just before senior Nohea Tano tied a pink kerchief on Shoji's head.