The Daily Wildcat recently spoke to sophomore libero and defensive specialist Kamaile Hiapo via Zoom in an interview. Hiapo set the Wildcats’ freshman record for digs in a season and is looking to carry that momentum heading into the season.
Daily Wildcat: What made you fall in love with the sport of volleyball?
Kamaile Hiapo: I’m the third generation volleyball player in my family. I grew up in the gym. I started playing club volleyball when I was five. My parents were against it, so they put me with the 12’s and maybe that will beat it out of her. I just loved it from there on.
DW: Do you have any pre game rituals you do before every game?
KH: I take a 10-minute power nap; it really confuses my teammates because I'm in the locker before a game and they are like, “Wake up Kamaile, we have to play!”
DW: How has this long break without competitive volleyball been for you?
KH: It’s definitely been difficult at times because a part of the sport I really love is competing. I love to compete. I’m very aggressive; I like to win. That whole competitive part has been gone for the months we have been in this and I would struggle and lose motivation. There's always motivation in bettering yourself. I refocused my life spiritually, mentally and physically then I will be a better athlete.
DW: How were the U.S. tryouts this Feb. for you?
KH: I was definitely up for the challenge. The first time Dave (Rubio) mentioned it to me, he was like, “Would you like to try out?” and I was like, “Of course! That's not even a question.” So they helped me. I'm so thankful for Dave for giving me a shot. It was a very good experience since I am so young. It was good to get my feet a little wet. Trying to see what I could do and look toward the future which I think will really help me in the future later on.
DW: What are your personal goals for the team this spring?
KH: Working as a system and being more precise about everything that we do. That was a big difference for me coming from high school to college, and we have so many freshmen they probably going to have to work on that same change. We have to keep pushing ourselves to that higher level every day. We don’t want to be top in the Pac-12; we want to be top in the nation.
DW: After you graduate, what is your plan?
KH: I would like to go pro; if not, I would like to get a job working with athletes — working with rehabilitation since I have gone through a lot of injuries myself. I will probably live close to home and my parents will help me out.
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