By RikkiLynn Shields, Asst. Editor
When Allie Yamashiro, a senior libero on the Manhattan College volleyball team traveled thousands of miles from her native Hawaii to New York, she did not know what to expect.
“I was nervous a lot of the time,” Yamashiro said. “I definitely had to work on building confidence, but I’m glad that my coach gave me the chance to play from when I was a freshman, and that he’s trusted me since freshman year. I’m really grateful for that.”
And Yamashiro has delivered on her coach’s trust, as four years later, the nervous Hawaii native has turned into a confident team leader who has broken the school record for digs.
“Breaking the record is a good feeling,” Yamashiro said, “As a team, we still have a bigger goal, and that’s to win the MAAC Championship. To be honest, it was never my goal personally to break a record. I’ve always been about the team, and we’ve always been about wanting to win the MAAC Championship to be able to go to the NCAA Tournament.”
The record for career digs had been held by Ashley Watson ’07, who had amassed 2013 digs. But on Sept. 2, Yamashiro broke the mark.
The Hawaii native has played a major part in Manhattan’s success the last three seasons, being at the center of the team’s stellar defensive play. Yamashiro has built a reputation as an active player who is willing to dive and sacrifice her body for digs.
Yamashiro’s teammate, Mary Donnelly, said the first three words that pop into her head when she thinks of Yamashiro is academic, leader, and success.
“And dirty, definitely dirty,” Donnelly said.
Yamashiro began playing volleyball at the age of nine, when she signed up to play on the police community league. At the age of 11, she began playing club volleyball, and this is when she believes that her volleyball career began to get serious.
During high school, Yamashiro led her high school, Kamehameha High School, to three consecutive junior varsity championships, and was named Female Athlete of the Year as a sophomore.
Yamashiro found out about Manhattan College through the recruitment process, and once she realized it was located in New York, she knew this was the place for her.
“I knew I wanted to leave Hawaii and go see something totally different,” Yamashiro said.
At Manhattan, Yamashiro was immediately inserted into the starting lineup her freshman year. She has consistently led the team in digs, and has ranked among the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference and NCAA leaders in the category.
In 2014, Yamashiro set a program record with 656 digs in a season, a mark that was the 12th highest in the NCAA.
Yamashiro has left an indelible mark on her teammates, and in her final season, is looking to win a championship for them.
“It’s been a privilege to play with someone who’s so humbling and talented,” Donnelly said. “She’s been such a leader, and someone that I’ve looked up to on and off the court. When I found out she broke the record I was ecstatic. I think that’s such a cool opportunity, and for her to have reached that goal and have that title is really something great.”