When watching volleyball, spectators tend to gravitate toward the big hitters and defense specialists. A player who is overlooked is the setter, who is often referred to as the “quarterback” of the team. But Rainbow Wahine senior setter Mita Uiato is not one to be disregarded.
“She’s just so confident,” said senior outside hitter Ashley Kastl. “I look at Mita, and I just know that we’re not worried. We are all together. Mita just has this look about her like we are going to do this. It doesn’t matter if we drop one game, we are going to come back and win.”
LONG BEACH GROWN
Uiato’s hometown is Long Beach, Calif., where she attended Long Beach Poly High School and lettered three years in volleyball. During her time at Long Beach Poly, she was honored in the volleyball magazine Fab-50 and ranked No. 61 on prepvolleyball.com’s Senior Aces list.
Uiato is described by teammates as quiet. Being the “quarterback” of the team, she is expected to be loud and assertive, but she is a leader in her own way. Her teammates know that she says the right things at the appropriate times and can calm them down.
“When she knows the hitter is in trouble, she takes a second, comes over and makes them feel relaxed and gives them the ball to kind of get them back in the game and in a rhythm,” said senior outside hitter Emily Hartong.
PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT
Uiato has put in the work to achieve what she has in her time with the Rainbow Wahine. She works closely with former UH Olympic setter and current assistant coach Robyn Ah-Mow Santos to perform at the caliber that is expected of her.
“She works so hard with Robyn, and Robyn does a great job,” Kastl said. “But Robyn can only give her the tools. Mita has done a great job at taking everything she has learned and putting into action.”
In Uiato’s previous three years, she has compiled numerous honors and awards. Her sophomore year, Uiato was named to the First Team All-Western Athletic Conference and led the WAC in assists per set. In her junior year, she earned AVCA All-American honorable mention, first team All-Big West and AVCA All-Region honors. Last season, Uiato led the BWC with 1,180 assists.
“Mita is always just straight,” Kastl said. “She’s very confident, and it’s always level with her. There (are) never real highs or lows.”