Hawaii Grown: Adora the explorer
STEVE C. WILSON / UNIVERSITY OF UTAH
Utah’s Adora Anae, right, and Bailey Choy were Star-Advertiser All-State players
Four years ago, Adora Anae sat outside of Kailua’s gym before an OIA match and was clearly still torn on her college choice.
Back then, the Kahuku senior had committed to Utah, but there was increasing pressure to stay home and play in front of fans and friends.
She said at the time, “I really thought about it this past month how my senior year is coming to an end, but it’s just the start. I’m just thinking that I’d miss home and I am kind of missing it already. My sister in college, Pat, is kind of missing home too, so it makes me think of it more broadly, ‘Maybe I should stay home, maybe I should go away,’ but I don’t know. It’s just a big thought process.”
As the season progressed, it was obvious the 6-foot-1 outside hitter was destined for greatness. She led the Red Raiders to a perfect 11-0 regular season and despite losing to eventual state champion Kamehameha in the quarterfinals, posted a match-high 16 kills in defeat.
That tournament took place at Kamehameha-Hawaii’s gym on the Big Island, and was the last time Anae spiked a ball in her home state until last Thursday at the Stan Sheriff Center.
Returning home with the Utes, the four-year starter and second-team All-American from a season ago led Utah to the Hawaiian Airlines Rainbow Wahine Classic title and was named the tournament’s most outstanding player.
She posted 12 kills in a sweep of South Dakota and 13 more against Western Carolina. She put down a team-high 19 kills and got help from sophomore setter Bailey Choy, a 2016 ‘Iolani alumna, to earn a 20-25, 26-24, 25-15, 25-23 win over Hawaii for Utah’s first-ever win over the Rainbow Wahine.
She was named the VolleyMob player of the week on Tuesday to add to her lengthy list of accomplishments.
Anae is a two-time All-Pac-12 first-team selection after becoming the first Utah player named to the All-Pac-12 freshman team in 2014.
The Utes are ranked No. 18 in this week’s AVCA Coaches Poll heading into their first home matches of the season, beginning with No. 15 San Diego on Friday.
It’s a big week in Utah for the Anae family. Brother Bradlee, who got the start in Utah football’s season-opening 37-16 win over North Dakota last Thursday at defensive end, faces arch rival Brigham Young on Saturday in Provo.
Bradlee Anae is one of four players from Hawaii on the Utah football team, while Adora Anae is joined on the volleyball team by Choy and true freshman Phoebe Grace, who also graduated from Kahuku.
Utah is tied with Winthrop for the most Division I players on the mainland who graduated from Hawaii high schools with three.