Maui Robins has her sights on the future.
The Kamehameha outside hitter and returning Gatorade player of the year once had an ulcer in an eye and went a full month wearing glasses instead of contact lenses. Now she ponders the possibility of studying optometry.
“I have a lot of interest in dermatology and optometry, too, because I wear contacts and glasses. Contacts can suffocate the eye. I wear them so much. I got glasses in fifth grade and didn’t get contacts until seventh grade,” she said. “Fifth grade class, I actually couldn’t read something, so my teacher wrote a note to my parents.”
Robins and teammate Devin Kahahawai use blue-light glasses to tone down the effects of long-term studying on electronic screens. That came in handy during months of virtual learning when the pandemic began.
“They help for people who are on the computer a lot. Devin has them and she doesn’t wear contacts or prescription glasses. You can get them anywhere, online,” Robins said.
Her vision is clear on and off the court. Robins has a 3.6 grade-point average and has committed to play volleyball at the University of Portland. The Warriors are as cerebral as any team, journaling after practices and matches. Robins has seen the process since childhood.
“What’s interesting is her dad (Duke Robins) was on our staff when she was in elementary school, Waikiki Elementary,” Kamehameha coach Chris Blake said. “While the varsity kids were working out she would grab a ball and want to pepper. She’s just surrounded by that in her family. For someone who’s slight, she’s real strong. I think she’s able to apply a lot of her experiences and put them into play, draw from them when needed.”
Volleyball runs through her veins. The Robins bloodline is stacked with high school and collegiate standouts going back to Mary Robins, who was part of the 1980s surge of Rainbow Wahine volleyball under legendary coach Dave Shoji. Maui Robins’ sisters, Alexis and Kili, played for coach Blake. Cousin Alohi Robins-Hardy was a dynamic all-state player of the year in volleyball and basketball. She went on to BYU and now plays professionally in the Philippines. Now on hiatus, Robins-Hardy is part of the Warriors coaching staff.
Cousin Kahiau Ka‘alele, setter for the 2019 state championship team (and 2020-21 ILH champion) at Kamehameha. She’s playing at Menlo. Ka‘alele’s sister, Anuhea, plays on the Warriors’ JV Blue squad.
“She’s the last of the grandchildren,” Maui Robins said.
Duke Robins coached at Kamehameha when his older daughters played there.
“He actually didn’t play anywhere seriously. He played intramurals at UH and that was the first time he played volleyball on a team,” Robins said. “In high school, I’m pretty sure he did football or basketball.”
Duke met Camille, Maui’s mom, while they attended Kamehameha. Camille was a tennis player and boarder from Maui.
“Alexis started young. She played for Kamehameha and UH. She was 16 when I was born. I have no memory of watching her play, but I have memories of going to Stan Sheriff (Arena) and eating with her and her teammates,” Robins said. “Kili is four years older than me. My brother, Paiea, didn’t play volleyball. He played football and basketball. Kili played at Kamehameha and Nevada. It made sense. She always expressed that she wanted to go away for college.”
Alexis Robins began her collegiate career at the University of Portland, where Maui has committed to play volleyball. Alexis eventually transferred to play at Hawaii.
Defending (2019) state champion Kamehameha is 0-1 with showdowns this week against ‘Iolani and Punahou. Kahahawai, a member of the US national team, may return by the end of the week.
See the full feature story on Maui Robins in today’s Honolulu Star-Advertiser.
Maui Robins’ lockdown staples
Top 3 movies/shows
1. “Grey’s Anatomy” (Netflix)
“My first time watching was during lockdown. It’s a really long show with 16 seasons. It was weird. I would binge, I’m not really a binger, so I would watch two a day. I would have to take mental breaks whenever my favorite characters died. But I did finish. The new season, but I just didn’t finish it yet. That’s the 17th season.”
2. “The Greatest Showman”
“Me and my family watch this a lot. It has Hugh Jackman and Zendaya. My mom loves it. She loves the singing.”
3. “Evil” (Netflix)
“It’s really weird. I don’t even know how to explain it. When people get possessed by bad spirits, these partners work at a church and every week there’s a new case, but somehow every case connects in the end. They only have one season so far. It’s really creepy.”
Top 3 food/snack/drink
1. Homemade egg toast.
“It’s not that pretty. I just make over-easy eggs, two of them. I put them on a plate, then I chop it up into a mixture. Then I put it on toast with salt and pepper. I copied from my sister (Kili), but she puts avocado under the egg. I don’t really like avocado. As long as the yolk is still runny, that’s it. During quarantine, it was a lot, probably three to four times a week, but now with school, I just basically eat it on weekends.”
2. Chicken veggie omelette (Bogart’s, Waikiki).
“Their food is real expensive and high quality. Onion, bell peppers, spinach, chicken, asparagus, mushrooms. They have a certain sauce that makes it real good.”
3. Blue Bunny chocolate ice cream.
“My favorite ice cream. It just tastes different from the other ice creams. It’s smoother. My dad, any time we have a celebratory thing involving me, he’ll make sure we have that ice cream.”
Top 3 music artists
1. Morgan Wallen – “Cover Me Up.”
2. Sam Smith – “One Day At A Time.”
3. Rihanna – “4 5 seconds.”
New life skill: Making crumble cookies.
“They’re nice and chewy, and rich. It’s just cake batter, but it’s prepped differently. My brother’s girlfriend (Kaylee Cambra) taught me. She’s a baker. Her Instagram is called Stuffed by Dee. She makes mochi-stuffed brownies. It’s so good.”
Funniest coach: Daryl Tamashiro (Kamehameha assistant).
“He definitely tells all the jokes. A lot of our humor is just roasting each other. Everyone banters with him because it’s so easy. If he roasts us, he knows we will roast him back.”
Funniest teammate: Marley Roe.
“She’s just really goofy. She does random things, just dances randomly. Makes random stupid noises. She’s really funny. She got MVP her freshman year as a goalie in soccer.”
Most artistic teammate: Nadia Koanui.
“She paints a lot. She has a water bottle with all her paintings on it. Really cute paintings. Scenic things. Sunsets. Flowers. Nature.”
Most underrated teammate: Kalei Watson.
“She’s a sophomore, really hard working, but I feel like a lot of people don’t see that. She’s originally a lib, but this season, she’s training as a pin, outside. She’s trying to be the best she can be for us. She’s really young, but she has a lot of leadership in her. When we (seniors) leave, she and Marley, I’d say, are the most mature and have the most leadership skills, for sure.”
“Shout out to my team. I’m very proud of them for putting in work this year and I can’t wait to see where we end up.”