Allie Yamashiro on MAAC all-time selection: ‘I’m surprised, but honored’

Hugh (brother), Jamie (mother), June Tokuda (grandmother), Ron Tokuda (grandfather), Luke (brother) and Danny (father) all supported Allie Yamashiro during her epic journey to play volleyball at Manhattan College. Photo courtesy of Allie Yamashiro.

A week has passed and Allie Yamashiro is still floating on a cloud.

The former Kamehameha back-row specialist went on to have a remarkable career at Manhattan College. The all-time dig leader in Jaspers’ history was one of three Hawaii volleyball players named last week to the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference 40th Anniversary Team.

Also among the select all-time players are Kamehameha/Siena players Taylor Akana and Lesli Akeo.

“I’m kind of surprised, but honored. Especially with all those girls I’ve looked up to forever. It’s neat that all three of us got in together,” Yamashiro said on Sunday. “I guess I’m really thankful for the coaches and teammates I had there. That was never my goal. You just do your best for the team to win. So I’m thankful they were always supportive.”

Yamashiro was part of a flawless run of state titles at Kamehameha.

“The thing that I remember about her was she was so respectful, she was one of those players who looks you in the eyes when you’re speaking, nodded her head,” Warriors coach Chris Blake said. “She had so much confidence within her skills, relied on her technical abilities, fundamentally sound. We were able to incorporate her into our defense so easily.”

Yamashiro’s numbers are incredible. So are the achievements. MAAC All-Rookie. 2,264 digs all time. School records in matches (133) and sets (502) played. Even seventh all-time in aces.

Perhaps the biggest number is 3.72, her grade-point average. Yamashiro graduated in exercise science and then earned a master’s degree in physical therapy at Columbia in May. She now lives with her family, which relocated to Boston during her playing career.

“I really liked being in New York. Every time we won a home game, they’d play a Frank Sinatra song, ‘New York, New York’,” Yamashiro said. “I really looked up to my coach, Mark Jones, he was always an encourager and always gave me confidence,” she said.

Allie Yamashiro became the all-time digs leader at Manhattan College. Photo courtesy of Manhattan Athletics.

Jones coached at Manhattan for eight seasons and is now head coach at Indiana State.

“I was able to accomplish what I did because he always believed in me,” Yamashiro said.

Of course, moving from Hawaii to New York City came with the usual challenge.

“The schedule is pretty demanding, so you are focusing on volleyball and school, and sometimes homesickness. My family would fly up and watch me. The first year, they stayed for a couple of weeks. My parents moved to Boston when I was a junior. My dad went back to school, so they would make the drive every weekend,” she said.

Yamashiro is ready for a job in the physical therapy field.

“Any PT job. I moved in with my parents since COVID-19. My two younger brothers, we’re all here in Boston,” she said.

Her next step is coming, but the Manhattan chapter is pristine. She recommends the East Coast to any island student or student-athlete.

“Go for it. Of course, leaving home is sad. Anyone who leaves Hawaii knows how sad it is, but the experiences of meeting new types of people and things that you never knew existed makes it entirely worth it,” she said.

Yamashiro misses volleyball immensely, but not quite enough to start coaching anytime soon.

“I’m not thinking of that right now, but I still love volleyball. I miss my teammates, just having all those people, people you get along with and love,” she said. “Shout out to all the coaches I’ve ever had in club and at Kamehameha. Each one has been someone I look up to, was a such a good example as a leader. Everyone at Kamehameha. They’re all doing big things now.”


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