Punahou setter Jaclyn Matias commits to Hawaii

Punahou's Jaclyn Matias puts up a set in the second set of a win over Mililani. Bruce Asato / Star-Advertiser

The high school girls volleyball season is silent this fall, but Jaclyn Matias’ hopes have led to the Rainbow Wahine.

The Punahou setter committed to Hawaii, where her father, John, was a slugging first baseman and designated hitter for the baseball team a generation ago. The junior was proactive about the process of recruitment.

“I started reaching out about two years ago to both the beach and indoor programs. Due to the NCAA recruiting rules, I could not have direct contact with coaches until this summer,” she said. “My recruiting process with UH started to solidify about two weeks ago.”

Hawaii wasn’t the only option for Matias, who has a 3.6 grade-point average.

“I had several offers from competitive indoor and beach programs. I am very grateful for all the programs who have shown interest in me,” Matias said.

The interest and offers, she added, came from the ACC, Big 12, Big East, Big West, Mountain West, Pac 12 and WCC.

Buffanblu coach Tanya Fuamatu-Anderson sees a good match with Hawaii.

“Jaci will be a great fit. Her hustle and competitive spirit is real. She never backs down from competition and embraces tough situations,” Fuamatu-Anderson said. “I can’t wait to see her train under Robyn.”

Robyn Ah Mow is in her fourth year as UH head coach. Fuamatu-Anderson, a former player, has known Ah Mow for quite some time.

“Robyn reached out to me the day of her meeting with Jaci and wanted to get my perspective on her. I’m sure Robyn may have been in contact with her club coaches for indoor and beach,” Fuamatu-Anderson said. “I know Robyn well enough to know that the intangibles are just as important as the skill set. I’m sure the UH coaching staff witnessed how Jaci plays with heart, tenacity, a never-say-die spirit, and she’s a team player.”

Fuamatu-Anderson has seen Matias continue her development over time.

“She is a high-level setter and has put in a lot of work in the offseason with her club coaches. It’s paid off. She knows there’s more work to be done and room for improvement, and that’s what keeps her going,” she said.

Matias plays for Rainbows Volleyball Club Hawaii under Coach Luis Ramirez, and Outrigger Canoe Club (beach) under Coach Lia Young-Hunt.

The longtime Punahou coach expects more word about the ILH girls volleyball season in October. For now, players are busy with club workouts on and off line.

“We’ll be picking things back up shortly,” Fuamatu-Anderson said.

“It’s been a constant shuffle between working out with my teams and individually during this lockdown and the ever-changing rules,” Matias said. “I’ve been working out at home and setting in my backyard.”

She has heard many stories about the hitting prowess of her father, who played under then-coach Les Murakami.

“I know that he had an outstanding career at UH. He still holds the home run record there and that he is very well known in Hawaii,” Matias said.

She hopes to major in kinesiology or pursue a career as an anesthesiologist.

“Or some type of sports medicine,” she said.

Q & A

Favorite athletes: “Kobe Bryant, April Ross and Serena Williams.”

Top 3 movies/shows

1. “Grey’s Anatomy.”

2. “Avatar.”

3. “Gilmore Girls.”

Top 3 food/snack/drink

1. Steak.

2. Korean BBQ.

3. Boba.

Top 3 music artists

1. T-Pain.

2. Rihanna.

3. Chris Brown .

New life skill: “I learned how to drive over quarantine and got my license.”


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