Special homecoming in works for UH's Kaufman


POSTED: Monday, November 02, 2009

The popularity of the Hawaii volleyball team has never been limited to the islands. The Rainbow Wahine also draw well on the road, with most opponents having their largest crowds when Hawaii comes to town.

It will be no exception tonight at San Jose State, where the struggling Spartans are averaging 257 at home. If Stacy Farmer has her way, there will be at least that many in Spartan Gym who specifically came to give her daughter—Wahine senior middle Amber Kaufman—a memorable homecoming.

“;Amber's a local success story, she's become like a celebrity here,”; Farmer said. “;I think there will be a couple hundred people from all sides of the track in the gym, people we know who have never seen a volleyball game and will be surprised that they are at one.





        No. 3 Hawaii (20-2, 10-0 WAC) visits San Jose State (1-20, 1-9) in a WAC showdown:

When: 5 p.m. today


Radio: KKEA 1420-AM




Hawaii leads series, 61-4




“;Between her success in track and in volleyball, people have followed her. Some of them told me she'd never be a Division I athlete. I remember when I asked one coach about the recruiting process, he said, 'Honey, I really doubt your child, coming out of Branham High, will get recruited.' He's coming Monday, saying he had to see for himself how wrong he was.”;

On the track, Kaufman is the two-time defending Western Athletic Conference high jump champion, a two-time All-American who finished third at the past NCAA championship meet and 12th at the 2008 Olympic trials.

On the volleyball court, Kaufman has helped No. 3 Hawaii to a 20-2 record—10-0 in the WAC. The Wahine put their 16-match winning streak on the line against the Spartans, who haven't beaten UH since 1993.

Last month, the Wahine swept the Spartans for the 37th consecutive meeting.

Kaufman said she will be sad to play in her hometown for the final time, “;but not as sad as it will be on senior night next Sunday,”; she said of Hawaii's final regular-season home match against Utah State.

“;It's sad for me, too,”; Farmer said. “;I couldn't have seen a better experience for Amber as a parent. I can't thank everyone enough, the coaches, the trainers, the fans.

“;Monday isn't just about Amber. It's about the Hawaii team. She loves this team and so do I.”;

Kaufman said she knew her mother had something planned for tonight, but didn't know the extent.

“;I think she's going to be overwhelmed by how many people show up,”; said Farmer, whose invitation process included a posting on Facebook. “;She has taught swimming to little kids for a number of summers. There's going to be a lot of them there, asking for autographs.”;



Yesterday's travel schedule did not allow for the Wahine to get in a practice at Spartan Gym. Instead, the team had an afternoon flight into San Francisco and then drove to Farmer's house in San Jose for an Italian dinner.

Hawaii continues to lead the country in home attendance for the 15th straight season, averaging 6,360; Nebraska is second at 5,077. All 18 of the Wahine's home matches rank in the top 30 nationally, including six of the top 10.