Top Maui volleyball player to join UH
By Leila Wai
Advertiser Staff Writer
A phone conversation that began with a question ended with a verbal commitment to play volleyball for the University of Hawai'i wo-men's program.
Kamehameha Schools-Maui junior outside hitter Ginger Long called Rainbow Wahine coach Dave Shoji Wednesday afternoon.
"I called him and asked if he still had a scholarship available," Long said. "He said he did, and I told him I would like to be a Rainbow Wahine.
"I didn't really know what to say, but after I did it, I knew it was the right thing."
Long will join the Wahine in the 2011 season.
She took an unofficial visit to the UH-Mānoa campus Monday, took a tour of the campus and watched the Rainbow Wahine practice.
"I could just picture myself being there," Long said. "It just felt right."
Long, who is 5 feet 11, averaged 4.6 kills per set with a .459 hitting percentage for the Warriors in the 2009-10 season, according to maxpreps.com. She was named the Maui Interscholastic League Division I Player of the Year.
"She's a really strong competitor," Kamehameha-Maui coach Bala Spencer said. "She's one of the fiercest competitors I've met. On Maui, it's hard to compete against the Punahous, Kamehamehas and 'Iolanis, and the Moanaluas of the OIA. She works twice as hard so the next time we get a chance, we'll be better."
Spencer said Long's strengths are her hitting and "being at the right place at the right time."
The commit was a bit of a surprise, even to Long, who grew up watching the Rainbow Wahine volleyball program. She said her "family is super excited."
"I didn't expect it; I thought I would be going away," Long said. "UH did so good (final four appearance last season), I wasn't sure I was up to their caliber."
Long said that "volleyball is my life," and when she isn't playing volleyball, she is training for volleyball.
She is getting her volleyball fix by practicing with the Kamehameha-Maui boys volleyball team this season.
"The boys hit hard, so it helps with my defense," said the converted middle blocker. "Especially the jumping aspect, their net is higher, it helps me to work hard and play up to their level."
Per NCAA rules, Shoji cannot comment on a recruit until her letter of intent is signed.