The Wahine’s Surprising Prince
Friday - July 22, 2005
Victoria Prince with volleyball camper
The biggest surprise on last year’s phenomenal Wahine volleyball team had to be middle blocker Victoria Prince. As the name suggests, the 6-foot junior transfer played like royalty, hitting 41 percent and averaging 3.36 kills per game. You might think she’d be satisfied with that, and you’d be dead wrong.
“Last year we got a taste of success, and we all felt we should’ve gone further,” says Prince. “This year we’re going to San Antonio.” San Antonio is the site of this year’s final four, and Prince will again be a huge part of the plan for the Wahine.
Five years ago it would’ve been unthinkable that Prince would be playing volleyball in the islands. While she played volleyball at Kamiakin High School in Kennewick, Wash., she was considered more of a prospect in basketball. Only after her junior year did she inform her A.A.U. basketball coach that she was putting away the brown leather ball and working full time with the white one. She played for her school and for the Columbia juniors V.C., and soon was attracting attention from the four PAC 10 schools in the Northwest. The decision to choose Washington State was an easy one.
“We were a Cougar family; we hated the Huskies,” says Prince. At first, her experience at WSU was a positive one, but as she improved her play, Pullman lost its allure. “It was a couple of things,” she says. “Things were not going well in the program, not working out, and there’s not a lot to do in Pullman.”
At the end of her sophomore year when she led her team with 1.21 blocks and earned All East Regional honors in the NCAA tournament, Prince was one of the six Cougar players who transferred out. She knew about the Hawaii program and her mother was a Leilehua graduate. Soon she was on her way to Honolulu.
“I loved Hawaii from the minute I got off the plane,” says Prince. “It’s a big city with lots to do, but it’s laid back at the same time. And the volleyball is awesome.”
In addition to school and sport, Prince is one of the students who works at the Hawaii Speed and Quickness clinics.
“My boyfriend (UH cornerback Kenny Patton) introduced me to it,” says Prince. “I love working with the kids.” Hawaii Speed and Quickness Camp co-founder Rich Miano knew he had a winner right away. “Victoria has a great rapport with the young kids,” says Miano.
Her success with the young athletes does not surprise her coach.
“Victoria really believes in what they’re doing at the camp, and the kids pick up on that right away,” says Dave Shoji. “She’s our most physically improved player — she’s improved her vertical by three inches … she’s become really strong.”
For Prince, it’s even more simple that that.
“You have to make it fun for them,” says Prince. “When they don’t get it right away, you have to be really encouraging.”
She also worked with the older kids at the Rainbow Wahine Volleyball camp where she takes a team for the duration.
“They really want to learn. They’ve seen us play in the arena and on TV, so we have credibility with them, and it’s great to watch them improve.”
As for goals, Prince sees volleyball well into her future.
“I love this sport so much; I want to play as long as I can, “ says Prince. “I talk to Heather Bown when she talks about playing in Italy. If I get the chance, I’ll play professionally.”
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