UH Hilo Volleyball Signs Four to National Letters of Intent
The University of Hawai`i at Hilo volleyball team has announced the signing of two transfers and two high school student athletes to National Letters of Intent during the early-signing period.
Alexandria Parisian, Maile Powell, Taira Kaawaloa and Kyla Militante-Amper will join the Vulcan program next fall for the 2018 year.
“This is a pretty terrific class,” said coach Gene Krieger, who just finished his first season as the Vulcans head coach. “We have an outside hitter from one of the top junior college teams in the state, a lefty right-side hitter, a tall setter and a libero that started in the Division II national championship match a year ago. I think that ‘much improved’ would be my mantra to describe my first early-signing class.”
Taira Ka‘awaloa is in the playoff portion of her sophomore year at Irvine Valley College, where her Lasers team is in the CCCAA playoffs. IVC is 24-0 and is ranked No. 1 amongst junior colleges in California. The 5-8 outside hitter averages 3.99 kills per set with a .345 attack percentage. She also averages 2.63 digs per set.
Ka‘awaloa was a First Team All-Orange Empire Conference selection as a freshman and sophomore. She was also a All-OES pick in beach volleyball last spring, teaming with current UH Hilo outside hitter Lucee Fitzgerald. As a freshman indoors, she led the Lasers in kills (3.22) and was sixth in the conference. She prepped at University Lab High School in Honolulu, Hawai‘i, she was a First Team All-ILH pick as a senior and a second team honoree as a junior.
“Tiara will be a great addition to our lineup,” Krieger commented. “I have been a fan for over a year now and am thrilled that she decided to come back to Hawai‘i to play her final two seasons and graduate. She has fantastic ball control and instincts on the court. Don’t let her height fool you, she has been in the top ten in kills for the state all season and will put points on the board for us as well. She will be fun to watch as she will bring additional passion to our defense, and she is unafraid to challenge bigger blockers. Tiara came very highly recommended by her junior college coach, Tom Pestolesi.”
Alexandria Parisian is a 6-1 opposite side hitter who prepped at Apple Valley High School (Calif.). She was a four-year starter and a two-year captain. The left-hander is also a three-time First Team All Mojave River League selection, ranking second in the league in kills (261), first in attack percentage (.348) and third in aces (55). She carries a 3.9 grade point average and plans to major in Communication Studies.
“I like that UH Hilo focuses on hands-on-learning through discovery and small class sizes,” Parisian said. “I love how the community supports the school and volleyball and I am excited to work hard and make the community proud. It’s an incredible opportunity to attend a school that is noted as one of the most beautiful universities in the nation.”
Parisian plays club volleyball for Forzal North 18UA out of Ontario, Calif.
“I am excited to add Alex as a key player in our recruiting class of 2018,” Krieger said. “I felt like Alex and her family were first class people and we felt comfortable with each other from the start. Several months were invested in the recruiting process, and when she paid to come to summer camp for three days, I knew she was serious about UH Hilo. Alex will be playing for the highest level of club volleyball this season in California and only has one or two things to focus on to become a major contributor as a freshman.”
Maile Powell is a 5-10 setter that played at Leland High School in Laguna Hills, Calif. She was a team captain and Leland’s Most Valuable Player this past fall. She plays for one of the top clubs in southern California, the A4 Volleyball Club, based in Orange County. She was born on the island of O‘ahu.
“I chose UH Hilo because of the beautiful location and the small town Hawaiian feel,” Powell said. “It has always been a goal of mine to attend school in Hawai‘i, partially due to my mother’s heritage. I have extended family on O‘ahu.”
Powell plans to major in marine biology.
“We needed another setter and Maile will be a great addition to our roster,” Krieger added. “She is a wonderful young lady with great values and direction. Being a tall left-handed setter will give us a new dimension in practice and during matches.”
Kyla Militante-Amper played two seasons as the starting libero at the University of Alaska Anchorage, earning honorable mention All-Great Northwest Athletic Conference honors in 2016. The Seawolves were the GNAC champs, reached the NCAA Division II national title match and ended the year at 34-3. Militante-Amper broke the UAA single-season records for digs (764) and digs per set (5.79). She also broke the Seawolf single-match record with 43 digs during a five-set war against Western Washington. She also zipped in four service aces during a match against Dixie State.
As a freshman (2015), she averaged 4.42 digs per set for the GNAC champion Seawolves, who finished 27-3. She was twice named the GNAC Defensive Player of the Week. At Hillsboro High School (Oregon), she was a four-time First Team All-Northwest Oregon Conference selection, two of those years as the setter. She played club volleyball for TEAM Hiki No in Hillsboro. She was born in Oahu and lived there until the age of 12. She did not play college volleyball in 2017.
“I am super excited about committing to Hawai‘i Hilo,” Militante-Amper said. “It has been about 10 years since I have lived in Hawai‘i and I am so excited to move back. I am very thankful to my parents for their support on and off the court, none of this happens without them.”
“Anyone who has played for a national championship caliber team can bring a lot to our program,” Krieger added. “She has a great skill set, I am excited to add her to the mix as we rebuild the program.”
Krieger will begin his second season at the helm of the Vulcan volleyball program in 2018, after previously leading a number of NCAA Division II and NAIA programs to national prominence. He will enter his 20th collegiate season with a career record of 376-228.