Star-Bulletin Sports

Wednesday, October 27, 1999

W A H I N E _ V O L L E Y B A L L

Malterre always
had her game
in control

She was the title team's
co-captain and backed up her
uncharacteristically bold
prediction of victory

By Cindy Luis


This is the 10th in a series featuring the 1979 University of Hawaii women's volleyball team, the Wahine's first national title.

TERRY Malterre likes to be in control. As a driver's education teacher at Roosevelt High School, Malterre has her own brake pedal in the school's training car. It's a necessity and a matter of survival.

Terry Malterre

As a member of the 1979 Hawaii women's volleyball team, co-captain Malterre was known for her control and calmness during the championship campaign. Winning that last match was a necessity and a matter of pride.

"Before going to Carbondale, Ill. (site of the national tournament), we all got to say something to the fans after our last match at Klum Gym," said Malterre. "I don't know what possessed me to say this. It was totally not my style, but I said we would come back with a national championship.

"I knew we could do it but to actually say it ... "

Nine days later, the Wahine made good on Malterre's bold promise. They rallied from 0-2 against nemesis Utah State to pull it out, 8-15, 7-15, 15-9, 16-14, 15-12.

Malterre was on the sidelines when Bonnie Gouveia put down the winning point, having subbed out.

"I was going beserk when Bonnie put it down,"' said Malterre. "It was such a dream come true. I was speechless and exhausted, both physically and mentally.

"We had eight seniors and we were so focused on winning because we knew it was our last chance. Over the summer we worked out more than we had ever done. We had finished second or third in the past. We knew this was it. It was either go out with a bang or not do it."'

Malterre wasn't supposed to be on that 1979 team. Her senior year should have been 1978, but she took the year off to train with the national team, hoping to make it to the 1980 Olympics.

"Dave (coach Shoji) didn't want me to go," said Malterre, who was named an All-American in 1977 after her junior season. "He felt we had a real good chance to win it that year (Hawaii finished third).

"I wanted to try for the national team. I stayed for a few months but decided to come back and play my last season. I came back physically in better shape and with a little bit more confidence. I knew I would be able to contribute a lot more after that experience."

It was a wise decision. The U.S. boycotted the 1980 Summer Games; Malterre got a championship.

"The thing about Terry is she played bigger than she was,"' said Shoji, who took over the Wahine program in 1975, Malterre's freshman year. "She's maybe 5-11, she was undersized even back then, but she was a legitimate middle blocker and attacker.

"She was one of three recruits I inherited when I took over the program. I could see right away she had a lot of potential. She obviously improved herself enough to be considered for the national team and had a shot at playing professionally in Japan."

Malterre nearly didn't become a Wahine. The 1975 Kamehameha Schools graduate wanted to go to Hawaii-Hilo, but her mother, Jane, persuaded the youngest of her six children to stay home.

"Being the baby, I guess she was a little more protective," Malterre said of her mother, who passed away last spring. "My parents were so supportive during my career. Actually, all the parents were. So many of them came to Carbondale. What I remember about them at the nationals were all the ti leaves and them wearing these green T-shirts, a color of green that you can only describe nicely as '70s green."

The title match was equally wild. Utah State came into the match ranked No. 1 and came out wearing hats for introductions.

"They were so cocky," said Malterre. "They thought it was a big joke.

"We wanted to win so badly. We had worked so hard and here we were, losing to them. I don't know what changed it after we were down two games. I think we started relaxing instead of being intimidated by their big block. We started playing defense, which was our trademark."

Malterre said she personally changed during the match.

"I remember becoming very aggressive, calling out for my sets,"' she said. "During the season, I had never said, 'Set me.' But I did that game.

"It was against my personality to do that but I just wanted to win so much. I knew we could."

Malterre returned to Hawaii with her second all-American honor. She graduated with a degree in secondary education in 1980 and then married former St. Louis football great Kaipo Spencer in 1982.

The couple, who have three sons, have since divorced. Malterre has rediscovered volleyball.

"I never thought I'd play again, I didn't want to play," she said. "After I got my degree, all I thought about was getting married and having kids.

"But about five years ago, I started running and getting in shape. I began playing in the HGEA league. This past year, I played in the open division at Haili with Sista (former Wahine Palakiko-Beasley). We played against BYU-Hawaii and I'm thinking, 'What the hell am I doing?''

"But I'm not going to give it up. I really love volleyball. It has helped balance out my life. Stressing out on the kids is not good so one day a week they know that mom goes to practice."

Her sons have chosen to play football like their father. Nainoa Spencer, 15, and Waika, 12, play for Kamehameha; Kaipo, 11, is in youth football.

"Sad to say, no one wants to follow mom," said Malterre. "But maybe some day they'll realize volleyball is a lifetime sport and football isn't.

"I'll always be around to help them if they choose volleyball."

Spencer said she's never made a big deal about her success in the sport. Her youngest son asked the other day, "How come you never told me you were an all-American? I had to find out from someone else."

"I just told him that it wasn't important to me now," said Malterre. "My kids are my priority. But I told him if anytime he wants to talk about it, I'll talk."'

Until last year, Malterre had been a P.E. and Health teacher at Roosevelt. After 14 years, she took a job as an outreach counselor; she also took the driver's ed job for the extra money.

"You quickly learn who can go out on the highway and who needs to stay in the residential area driving," said Malterre. "You can tell which kids have ridden bikes before, too, because they understand basic turns, braking, how to slow down gradually.

"My oldest son wanted me to teach him how to drive but there's a big difference between the driver's ed car and your own car. In driver's ed, I have a brake pedal, I can reach over and grab the wheel. I was a maniac with my son because I didn't have control."

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