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Hawaii native makes final stand

Aaron Montes
Senior setter Malia Patterson sets teammate Xitlali Herrera for the kill against Hampton.

Now in her final season with the UTEP volleyball team, senior setter Malia Patterson is one of the major contributors to the team. Her consistency and hard work have paid off and now she is considered one of the best in Conference-USA.

Patterson was recently named Conference USA Second Team Setter of the Week for her performances against South Dakota State and Hampton on Sept. 20 and 21.

“It’s nice to have a player like Patterson,” said head coach Holly Watts. “She is so resilient, she comes to play every day, works hard everyday. Whether people are here to watch practice or in a match, she brings her best every time. So that’s definitely nice to have on the team.”

Originally from Honolulu, Hawaii, Patterson attended Punahou High School, where she played five years of club volleyball. In 2009, Patterson led her team to a ILH (Interscholastic League of Honolulu) Championship, where her team finished second.

Patterson’s middle name is Kawehiokalani, a Hawaiian word that means the opening of the heavens, and she credits her hometown culture for getting her involved in the sport.

“I got into it because one of my best friends wanted to try it. In Hawaii, volleyball is definitely a popular sport and a big part of the Hawaiian culture,” Patterson said. “There is a volleyball court always available, so it’s always around and it became a big part of my life in that way.”

Patterson said the pace of the game is definitely faster at college.

“It made me definitely challenge myself to work harder,” Patterson said. “Not playing so much as a freshman, I was able to prepare, observe the game a lot and work with the coaches and see what they wanted as far as offensively, so that helped a lot.”

As a sophomore, Patterson recorded 12 double-doubles, picking up a career-high of 63 assists against the University of Houston.

In 2012, as a junior, Patterson became the second player to be named All Conference USA, ranking 57th nationally, while leading the team with 1,177 assists.

Now as a senior, Patterson continues to contribute with the most assists, and she credits her accomplishments to her poise.

“I try to bring to the team a calm attitude, try not to bring too much drama,” Patterson said. “I see myself as seeing both sides of the story. I think that’s why our team works so well because we all want the same thing and we all are playing for the same goal, and we all are communicating better this year.”

Senior and middle blocker Xitlali Herrera, who has been a teammate with Patterson for two years, said Patterson plays an important role on the team.

“It’s nice to play with Patterson–she is always very calm on the court,” Herrera said. “She helps to motivate and give confidence to everyone around her to keep doing good during each game.”

Optimistic for the season and her own future, Patterson looks to graduate and receive a degree in psychology in May. For now, Paterson hopes to return home to Hawaii and continue her education closer to her family.

Ellisia Shafer may be reached at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Aaron Montes
Aaron Montes, Staff Photographer
Aaron Montes is a junior multimedia journalism student at the University of Texas at El Paso. He graduated from Burges High School in 2010, where he was the head photographer for three years with his yearbook organization, Hoofbeats, the newspaper, Stampede and a literary magazine, Pegasus. With The Prospector, Aaron has been a photographer, the photo editor and multimedia editor. His major contributions to the publication have come through coverage of the ASARCO and City Hall demolitions and with the bomb threat on campus March 28th. He plans on doing investigative reporting in political and economical issues in El Paso and nationally. He strives to become part of the Associated Press.
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Hawaii native makes final stand