FL MORRIS / FMORRIS@STARBULLETIN.COM
Susie Boogaard has played left-side hitter and right-side hitter in her senior season with the Rainbow Wahine.
Boogaard is everywhere
The senior is capable of playing anywhere on the court for the Rainbow Wahine
Wanting it all doesn't mean being greedy, not in Susie Boogaard's dictionary.
The Susie Boogaard File
Kills: 126. Needs 13 for 800
Digs: 145. Needs 30 for 650
Blocks: 36. Needs 12 for 200
Aces: 7. Needs 11 for 50
Last match: 12 kills, 10 digs, 6 blocks at New Mexico State
Her definition is about values, about wanting a strong marriage such as the one her parents have enjoyed for 30 years. It's about raising children in the same loving environment she enjoyed, one that also fosters a passion for athletics and the outdoors.
It's about teamwork where family members work hard and play even harder together.
It's what Boogaard sees as her future. It's also what she saw in the Hawaii volleyball program, an ohana that was so welcoming it felt like an extension of her own family.
That warmth was enough to lure the 6-foot-2 hitter away from the close-knit Boogaard clan in Bellflower, Calif., in 2002. She quickly learned what an opponent had told her at a youth national tournament was true: "Hawaii is a fun place to play."
The opponent was Rainbow Wahine setter Kanoe Kamana'o, who met Boogaard when the two were competing against each other at the club level.
"She was trying to make a decision about where to go (to college)," Kamana'o said. "I kept telling her, 'You know, Hawaii's a great place.' Then I saw her here and it was like, wow, it happened, the opportunity to play with her and not against her.
"She's just been a great teammate, always smiling, always encouraging, always there. She's not real vocal and not real loud, but you hear her.
"It will be sad to say good-bye when the season does end."
Boogaard and Hawaii's two other seniors -- middle Victoria Prince and libero Ashley Watanabe -- have only seven regular-season home matches left in their stellar careers, the countdown continuing with tonight's contest against Fresno State. Boogaard anticipates playing the right side, as she did when putting down 12 kills and coming up with six blocks and 10 digs in last Saturday's 3-2 win at New Mexico State.
But that's not a given. Boogaard put her years of dance classes to good use as she has moved from right side to left side and back to the right so many times she could win a dance marathon.
"I don't know before a match where I'm playing and it doesn't matter, I'm just glad to be on the court," said Boogaard, who has split time at both positions this season. "I'm having a good time on the right, where it's usually more about blocking than about getting kills, like on the left.
"The positions are different and I've liked the mix of playing both."
If there were a utility player in volleyball, it would be wearing No. 2. She has to know all the blocking schemes, the passing patterns -- she's second on the team in digs -- as well as where the Wahine hitters are on offense because Boogaard is also the secondary setter.
"I like setting," said Boogaard, who is second to Kamana'o in assists. "It's really fun when a teammate gets a kill off my set."
She hasn't done it in a match, but Boogaard has been working hard in practice at setting the middle. The play requires a lot of timing "but when she gets comfortable with it, she may bust it out in a game," Kamana'o said. "And that would be fun.
"She's always commenting, 'Watch out, Kanoe, I'm going to take your position.' "
Wahine coach Dave Shoji has two words for that: "Not happening."
"That would require quicker feet than she has," Shoji said. "That's been one of her drawbacks, her foot speed. She has athletic ability, just not the fast-twitch. But she does really well for the physical tools she has. And Saturday, she was one of the reasons we turned things around.
"Susie's had a lot of roles on this team. Her first two years, she was kind of a role player, but she got a lot of good points for us. She's really well-suited for the right but last year, we needed her on the left and she was very, very solid. She's not the most dynamic player but she has solid skills and that's what I'm going miss."
No one is rushing this senior class out the Stan Sheriff Center door. Although this season didn't start off the way Boogaard had hoped -- losing more matches (six) than in her previous three years combined (five) -- it's how and where the season ends that matters.
"Our preseason was extra tough, but it's only made us stronger and tougher," Boogaard said. "As long as we keep improving, it's going to be a really good senior year.
"Hopefully, we'll make it to the final four and win it all. It's the last chance.
"The four years have gone really quickly and I'm going to miss the arena, my teammates, the fans, how nice and loving the people are here. When it is done, I hope I've left the image of a fun-loving, hard-working girl and people will have good memories of me."
Her teammates will.
"What I've learned from her is to play for myself, not anyone else's approval," sophomore middle Kari Gregory said. "She plays hard and has fun doing it."
Boogaard has also worked hard in the classroom and will finish her degree in four years. She'll graduate this May with a B.A. in sociology.
"I'm taking 17 credits in spring," she said. "It's going to be tough but it's worth it to be able to graduate in four.
"I have no idea what I'll be doing. It's going to be strange not being part of a team because I've never not been part of some team."
That might not last for long. Her older sister, Sarah, is looking for a beach-doubles partner.
But that is the future. The present includes several more trips here for Boogaard's biggest fans, her parents John and Susan, who have rarely missed a Sheriff Center match in four seasons, thanks to buying airline passes for unlimited flights.
In Boogaard's first three years, the team went a combined 100-5 with final four appearances in 2002 and 2003. Last year, they missed being in Long Beach for what would have been a third straight final four as well as a 15-minute drive from Boogaard's home.
"Being able to play that close to my family and friends would have been exciting," she said. "But I don't like to have regrets ...
"But getting to San Antonio (site of this year's final four) would work for me."
No one would blame Boogaard for being greedy -- just this once -- for wanting to have it all.
Injury update: The depth chart at middle blocker was temporarily reduced by 40 percent this week when freshman Nickie Thomas rolled her right ankle in practice and Gregory was hampered by a possible torn meniscus in her left knee. Both were back practicing yesterday, saying they would be ready to play tonight.
Had the two been sidelined, it would have moved sophomore Caroline Blood to No. 3, behind starters Victoria Prince and Juliana Sanders. Blood, who played one season for the Rainbow Wahine softball, had three appearances last season as a middle and three this season as a right-side hitter.
End quote: "It certainly got our attention," UH coach Dave Shoji said when asked what he thought of Fresno State picking up its first WAC win in handing Utah State its first WAC loss on Wednesday.