July 30th, 2014
A few quotes from UH volleyball coach Dave Shoji that didn't make it into Sunday's column
Q: Do you consider 2014 to be a rebuilding season?
A: I wouldn't classify it as rebuilding. We have five solid players who have played quite a bit. We do need help from one, two or three more. We have some excellent players already in the program. We just have to find who is going to supplement them.
Q: How do you replace a great player like Emily Hartong?
A: We think Nikki Taylor is the one who takes a lot of swings. We saw a bit of it last year, more and more as the season progressed. I think she's one that we look to step up. Tai Olevao, with two seasons of experience, she'll need to step up her game. Physically she has the things we need. Great vertcal, fast, quick. She just needs to be more consistent offensively.
Q: Other keys for the season?
A: Of course our setting position is, I wouldn't call it a question mark but we will have a new setter. With Taylor Higgins based on what we know and what she did last year we think she has a lot of what it takes.
We lost (middle) Jade Vorster but replaced her with Olivia McGill, an Arizona transfer. With Olivia, there won't be any drop off.
Q: Your sons, Kawika and Erik, are both performing well on the U.S. men's national volleyball team. How gratifying is that, two sons doing it at their sport's highest level?
A. In my mind, we just never knew what level they would eventually get to. As a high school player you never know if they will make the jump to college, next the jump to pro volleyball. In that respect they're at the highest level now. It's pretty unbelievable for any of these kids. We're just counting our blessings that they're taking it this far.
They were in the gym all the time, played a bunch of sports, which I think helped their volleyball. So it's not that surprising that brothers would be about the same in athletic ability, of course their volleyball IQ helps."
Q. Your book, written with Ann Miller, is scheduled for release during the season. Any thoughts on it?
A. To be honest, I had mixed feelings about it. The people at UH press have been marvelous.