Former Rainbow Wahine player leads clinic

  • Nick Celario / The Garden Island

    Kianalei Kamalani, left, bumps a ball during a girls volleyball clinic Saturday at the Wilcox Gymnasium on the Island School campus in Puhi. To the right is former University of Hawaii women’s volleyball player McKenna Granato.

  • Nick Celario / The Garden Island

    Former University of Hawaii women’s volleyball player McKenna Granato demonstrates a move during a girls volleyball clinic Saturday at the Wilcox Gymnasium on the Island School campus in Puhi.

  • Nick Celario / The Garden Island

    Former University of Hawaii women’s volleyball player McKenna Granato, left, gives instructions to Mackenna Tamanaha during a clinic Saturday at the Wilcox Gymnasium on the Island School campus in Puhi.

  • Nick Celario / The Garden Island

    Ashley Mecham bumps a ball during a girls volleyball clinic Saturday at the Wilcox Gymnasium on the Island School campus in Puhi.

  • Nick Celario / The Garden Island

    Former University of Hawaii women’s volleyball player McKenna Granato, center, talks with a group of girls volleyball players during a clinic Saturday at the Wilcox Gymnasium on the Island School campus in Puhi.

PUHI — Former University of Hawaii women’s volleyball player McKenna Granato headed a clinic for Island School’s girls volleyball team.

The former Rainbow Wahine outside hitter led a group of 14 players Saturday morning at the Wilcox Gymnasium on the Island School campus in Puhi.

“They look pretty good. They have some skill. I think they’re definitely going to do good,” Granato said during Saturday’s clinic. “They look eager to learn, so that’s good.”

Among the attending players were Voyagers outside hitter Ashley Mecham and setter and opposite hitter Katie Cook. Both will be seniors the upcoming school year.

“With McKenna, I think she goes really deep into details about the technique,” Mecham said. “She doesn’t only say how to do it, but she says how it works, like when you’re moving your feet and when she tells you to get in a passing position instead of lunging. The details really help a lot.”

Cook said the was a bit star-struck when she first saw Granato in person.

“I’ve watched all her games on TV, so it’s kind of an honor to be coached by her,” Cook said.

She added: “She walked in. I was with my teammates, and I gasped. They all looked at me like I was crazy, but it was fine.”

Both Cook and Mecham hope to one day play in the college ranks.

“I really like how she’s teaching us because, of course we have amazing coaches here, but since she just got out of college, her skills are more recent,” Cook said. “She knows what colleges are looking for currently.”

With the few hours she spent with the Voyagers players, Granato hopes one of the things they learned from her is to be more open-minded.

“Just open to being able to change from what they’ve been coached before,” she said. “A lot of times, when you’ve had previous coaches, it’s hard to change your skills. So, being open to learning new things and being coachable.”

Granato, who graduated from UH in May, said hosting a clinic came about after a relative suggested it.

“I’m on Kauai for a summer service project, a conservation project. My uncle, he’s the athletic director at Kauai High, he was kind of just, ‘You should do clinics here and there.’ And I was like, ‘Yeah,’” she said. “I’m happy to (do that).”

Granato, a Kailua native and a Punahou School alumna from 2015, added she will continue with volleyball on the mainland.

“I’m going to grad school in August at the University of Utah, and I’m going to play beach volleyball there for my fifth year of eligibility,” Granato said. “Then hopefully after that, we’ll see, but hopefully try to go pro. If not, then I want to come home.”

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Nick Celario, sports writer, can be reached at 245-0437 or ncelario@thegardenisland.com.

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