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UTEP volleyball player ‘set’ for comeback

Annabella Mireles
Senior UTEP volleyball defensive specialist/libero Ha’ahulakaleikaimana Crisostomo poses for The Prospector April 29.

UTEP volleyball defensive specialist/libero Ha’ahulakaleikaimana Crisostomo, also known as Hula, is from Honolulu, Hawaii. She has been playing volleyball for 10 years now and is looking forwards to coming back next season after missing the 2021 season.

Crisostomo is a senior psychology major with a minor in criminal justice and is set to graduate in the fall of 2022. After graduation, Crisostomo plans to continue her education to receive her master’s degree and go on to become a counselor for adolescents alongside coaching high school volleyball.

“Hopefully become a graduate assistant at another school, so that could help me get into coaching and help me with the psychology aspect of it by helping the girls on a team – understand that there’s a mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical side to sports,” Crisostomo said.

Crisostomo began playing at 12 years old, inspired by her older sister, Kawai, who also played volleyball. Crisostomo played at Ka Ulukoa Volleyball Institute until she was 17 years old and at the age of 18, she played for the Kuikahi volleyball club. Along with her sister being her inspiration, Crisostomo explains her dad has played a big role in inspiring her to play.

“My dad is someone who is always working, and he wasn’t able to come to all my games sometimes. I always really looked forward to seeing him on the sideline or on the benches,” Crisostomo said. “My sister, too, has always been such a big role model for me. She’s my big sister so I always wanted to be like her. Those two are my best friends, so I would do anything for them. I would keep playing for them.”

Crisostomo’s favorite part about playing libero is keeping the ball off the ground to stop the kill and make the play continue when most would think it is over. Crisostomo also loves being supportive by being out there cheering on her teammates who are on the court.

“I’m just really passionate about the game,” Crisostomo said.

Being able to be a member of UTEP volleyball means a lot to Crisostomo, she mentions she has been able to be a part of something that has grown so profusely. Crisostomo explains everyone is always full of energy and excited to be a part of the team as they are always supportive of each other.

“I think I’m just part of something that’s going to grow and develop into something really amazing,” Crisostomo said. “Everyone gives their all despite their role on the volleyball team, and I think that’s also something that’s really motivating and inspiring to be part of.”

When she graduates, Crisostomo explains that she is going to miss the people she has met at UTEP. Crisostomo mentioned that during the pandemic she felt as if she had no support system, but this past year she has made a lot of friendships.

“I’ve met some great people and I made a big connection, especially with my family tree and with Zeta Tau Alpha sorority. They made a really big impact in my life just within the two months that I met them,” Crisostomo said. “Even with the girls on the volleyball team, I feel like I’ve made some pretty good connections with some of them as well, and I feel like those relationships that I have with them are going to last for a very long time.”

Crisostomo wants to show the city of El Paso she is passionate and competitive. She feels as if she was not able to show that side of her due to missing the last season from a left knee injury. Crisostomo will be coming back next season, where she plans to show the passion she has for the sport.

“I missed all of last semester, and I was a senior, so I felt like I was really missing out because I was injured. I felt like I wasn’t able to show El Paso who I am,” Crisostomo said. “I really want to show them that ‘oh, that’s the girl that’s super energetic, she’s always cheering super loud, she’s always hugging her teammates or slapping the ground whenever they celebrate a point.’”

Katrina Villarreal is a staff reporter and may be reached at [email protected].

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About the Contributors
Katrina Villarreal, Multimedia Editor
Katrina Villarreal is senior multimedia journalism major with a minor in theatre at UTEP. She is going into her second year at The Prospector and is currently the Multimedia Editor. Once she graduates, she plans on becoming a sideline reporter for the NFL or ESPN.  
Annabella Mireles, Photo Editor
Annabella Mireles is a junior at the University of Texas at El Paso majoring in digital media production and minoring in film. She is the photo editor at the Prospector newspaper and Minero magazine as well as owning her own photography business. She plans on pursuing photography full time.
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UTEP volleyball player ‘set’ for comeback