Michael “Fish” Fisher and Micah Ma’a are similar in two major ways.
For one, both are contributing heavily to the success of the No. 1 UCLA men's volleyball squad.
Fisher has come in off the bench to provide the Bruins with height, offensive power and a competitive spark that fires up the team. The junior outside hitter has posted 37 kills over 22 sets.
Ma’a has been one half of the setting duo that is the stalwart of the Bruins' 6-2 offense this season. With 84 kills and 220 assists, the freshman has become one of the brightest young players, not just at UCLA but also in the country.
The second similarity is that both can lay claim to having their hometowns in one of the most beautiful places in the world.
Kailua, Hawaii – A quaint little town on the eastern shore of Oahu. It’s a place where one can always smell the ocean and is within walking distance of world-class beaches, a movie-esque town and the beautiful mountains. For Fisher, this is home.
As a teenager, Fisher attended Hawai'i Baptist Academy, where he immediately found himself a head above the rest.
“I was one of the tallest kids in the entire school; high and middle school,” Fisher said. “So head varsity coach Teoni Obrey kind of picked me out and really molded me into the player I am today.”
Hawaii being as small as it is, Fisher and Ma’a naturally competed against each other in high school.
“I remember playing him my senior year in the 'Iolani classic,” Fisher said. “(Ma'a's team), Punahou, had (former USC outside hitter and current UH transfer) Tui Tuilet, Kupono Fey and a bunch of other guys who were just good. And it was me, my little brother and then just a random group of guys. You would look at us and think, 'How are these guys on the same court as Punahou?'”
HBA ended up taking a set from Punahou School, but that was all it would get. Regardless, it was a major upset that HBA was able to take even a single set.
As Fisher progressed, he began to excel at the club volleyball level.
From the time Fisher was 14, he and the University of Hawai'i outside hitter Kupono Fey were teammates. Their club team did exceptionally well, especially during their 18’s year. Eventually, Fisher moved up to the USA A2 program, only a step under the junior national team.
Having no major familial ties to volleyball, Fisher has started his own dynasty.
“Then, in turn, (coach Obrey) has taken my little brother and sister and molded them into players,” Fisher said. “So I think we’re starting to become a volleyball family.”