SUU volleyball player Janet Kalaniuvalu announced she is transferring to the University of Miami (Fla.). Kalaniuvalu was second team All-Big Sky last season.
Kalaniuvalu joins a talented ‘Canes squad that underachieved last season, finishing 9-9 in ACC play. She will play her junior and senior seasons in Miami.
Kalaniuvalu was a star for the T-Birds last season. Kalaniuvalu topped the Big Sky in kills per set and was the only T-Bird to receive an All-Big Sky selection.
“I’m just very appreciative of all of the people at SUU including the admin and boosters, as well as my coaches,” Kalaniuvalu told SUU News. “I always felt supported and truly did love being a part of such a great community.”
Kalaniuvalu’s departure leaves a hole in the SUU volleyball program. Coach Pete Hoyer’s offense was very reliant on her offensive prowess. Kalaniuvalu was set to 1464 times last season, more than double the attempts of the next closest T-Bird.
Emma Mangum, Thea Leiataua and Mckenzie Dowell will shoulder the majority of the offensive burden that Kalaniuvalu leaves behind. Incoming freshmen Shannon Webb and Kayla Dowler will be asked to come and contribute immediately.
The move comes as something of a surprise to T-Bird nation. The T-Birds had an encouraging 2018 season after Coach Hoyer took over the program and Kalaniuvalu was to be the corner piece of the future of T-Bird volleyball.
Kalaniuvalu’s development from her freshman year to her sophomore year was spectacular and a bit unexpected. She’s as close to an overnight star as SUU’s ever had, and the move might allow Kalaniuvalu to continue her development against stronger competition.
It seems as though Kalaniuvalu outgrew her surroundings, and her move to Miami will put pressure on SUU volleyball to adapt quickly heading into the offseason.
Story by: Connor Sanders
Photo by: SUU Athletics Strategic Communication