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WNCC’s Masaki signs with UTEP

WNCC’s Masaki signs with UTEP
(Photo courtesy of WNCC)

Western Nebraska Community College’s Enna Masaki keeps the tradition going with at least one volleyball player signing with a Division I college for 13 straight years.

Masaki continued that streak when she signed with the University of Texas El Paso on Monday. The streak started in 2006 when Barbara Frietas signed with University of Houston and Bianca Rivera with Creighton.

“I always wanted to play at the Division I level,” Masaki said. “I wanted to play for the Pac 12, but obviously my schooling needs work on. A low D1, that is not bad. I am the second one in my family to go on to play collegiate volleyball in my family.”

Masaki picked UTEP because she fell in love with the college when she visited.

“I choose Texas El Paso because once I stepped foot on the campus, I fell in love with it,” she said. “I fell in love with the girls that were there. I fell in love with the community. I really had a good connection with the coaches.”

UTEP head coach Ben Wallis, who was named head coach in December, is excited to get someone of Masaki’s ability into his program.

“Syenna is a complete volleyball player,” Wallis said in a press release. “We are really excited to have her join our Miner family because she can help us do a lot of things in the game well.”

Masaki, from Kailua, Hawaii, had a successful two seasons at WNCC. Last season, Masaki was Region IX all-region and all-tournament, and was selected captain of the Omaha World Herald All-Nebraska JUCO team.

Masaki finished her sophomore season with 331 kills, 267 set assists, 339 digs, 56 blocks, and 50 ace serves. For her career, Masaki leaves WNCC with 552 kills, 996 set assists, 642 digs, and 126 blocks.

This past season, Masaki posted a 12-match streak of double-digit kills, including a 24-kill performance versus McCook Community College (9/20) at a blistering .439 clip.

“She may have been the best passer, attacker and setter at Western Nebraska. She is going to come in and compete for us in all three areas for us as well.” Wallis said. “Not only is she very competitive, but also she is a gym rat, which I love. Volleyball is important to her, and it shows.”

Masaki, who is majoring in physical education with plans to coach, is excited to be playing Division I volleyball, following in her sister Nycole’s footsteps. Nycole played 2012 and 2013 for University of Texas Pan America.

“It is great that I get to know I will be playing at the Division I level and knowing I get to change the program around,” she said. “I just want to thank everybody that came [to the signing]. My past two years have been great. It has been a big learning lesson and I am excited to move on.”

A list of Cougar volleyball players that played Division I

2018 – Enna Masaki, Texas El Paso

2017 — Joise Maldonado, Genesis Benitez, U. of North Alabama

2016 – Lara Picht, Oral Roberts; Barbara Briceno, West Florida

2015 – Fabiana Andrade, Cal State Bakersfield

2014 – Leticia Silva, Auburn; Amanda Schoene, Cal State Bakersfield

2013 – Morgan Broussard, U. of Texas San Antonio; Luisa Martins, Cal State Bakersfield

2012 – Danika Youngblood and Megan Johnson, Cal State Bakersfield; Alex Rivera, Southern Illinois

2011 – Debora Araujo and Fernanda Goncalves, Cal State Bakersfield

2010 – Kuulei Kabalis, Kansas State; Kathryn Stock, Nicholis State

2009 – Kaleinani Kabalis, Washington State; Paulina & Sabrina Piegza, St. Johns

2008 – Fatima Balza – Penn State; Nayka Benitez, Creighton; Palamo Amvarez, Western Carolina

2007 – Soriana Pacheco, Kansas State; Jennifer Eichler, Tulsa

2006 – Barbara Frietas, University of Houston; Bianca Rivera, Creighton

2004 – Brittany Isakson, University of South Dakota

2003 – Kariny Ritter, University of Houston; Agata Rezenda, Kansas State

2002 – Giovana Melo, Arizona State

2000 – Lyndsey Finney – Fresno State

1996 – Christy Johnson – Eastern Kentucky

1988 – Nicole Quinnett – Eastern Kentucky

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