Moanalua junior Matautia commits to UH

Moanalua outside hitter Austin Matautia gave his oral commitment to play for the University of Hawaii in the 2017 season.
Moanalua outside hitter Austin Matautia gave his oral commitment to play for the University of Hawaii in the 2017 season.

It was quite a week for Moanalua’s Austin Matautia.

On Thursday, Charlie Wade — the Hawaii volleyball coach — came by to watch 6-foot-4 outside hitter Matautia and others play in a tournament at Kamehameha.

On Friday, Matautia went to the Stan Sheriff Center, thanks to Wade’s invitation, and watched the Rainbow Warriors defeat Stanford in three sets.

After the match, Matautia’s dream pretty much came true when he orally accepted a scholarship to play for Wade.

There is a lot of time between now and when Matautia is a college freshman. He is just a junior now, and the 6-foot-4 outside hitter is a big reason why Na Menehune are ranked second in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s Top 10.
So, it is possible, though unlikely, that Matautia will play elsewhere. He has interest or offers from Lewis, Loyola-Chicago, BYU and UC Irvine.

“I want to stay home and want to be with family and want to play for Hawaii,” Matautia said Saturday after Moanalua got past No. 3 Kamehameha in the semifinals before losing to Kamehameha-Hawaii in the final of the Kamehameha Cup Boys Volleyball Invitational.

Wade was in attendance on Thursday to also watch King Kekaulike senior outside hitter Colton Cowell, who is also being recruited by the Rainbow Warriors. Matautia and Cowell teamed up to win the Sand Festival volleyball state championship in the 18-and-under division last month.

“When he was in ninth grade, I was a little worried about Austin’s maturity as a volleyball player,” Moanalua coach Alan Cabanting said. “This year, he has risen to that maturity. He’s not always straight downhill and he’s finding his shots when he needs to make shots rather than always trying to overpower opponents. He has a lot of firepower on his shots and he is a great, great volleyball player. It will be nice to watch him play at whichever school he chooses.”

Anyone watching Moanalua play in the Kamehameha Cup got a glimpse of Matautia’s sheer power. He had 12 kills in the two-set final.

“He’s on the thin side, so when his body fills out, a lot more of that (power) will come into play,” Cabanting added.

When asked if Wade and the UH coaches have been giving him tips on what part of game to improve, Matautia said, “They want me to go full-out forward on my approach, whether I take a shot or pass, no matter where I am on the court. Sometimes, I’m not going all-out forward on my approach enough.”


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