Record setter: Timpview’s Silina Damuni earns Daily Herald Girls Volleyball Valley Player of the Year
When Silina Damuni was in sixth grade, she went to Utah Valley’s UCCU Center with her family to watch her sister Selai play for Timpview in the state volleyball tournament.
The T-Birds advanced to the state championship match and Silina took it all in: The light show, the introductions, the screaming crowds, the intensity and high level of play.
“I looked at my mom and said, ‘I’m going to be there someday,'” Silina Damuni recalled. “Not just ‘want to.’ I’m going to be there.”
Damuni led Timpview to two state championships during her high school career, winning in 2020 and 2022. Her dazzling play at setter and as a leader has earned her the 2022 Daily Herald Girls Volleyball Valley Player of the Year.
“It’s just been an amazing experience and an amazing ride,” she said. “I wouldn’t trade those four years for anything. It was such a blessing to be coached by Charmay (Lee) and the other coaches. They made me love what I do and believed in me. My big goal ever since sixth grade was to win state, and winning the state championship is like no other feeling.”
Damuni finished with 1,060 assists in 2022 (11 per set) to go along with 55 aces, 298 digs and 147 kills. She kept her team focused through tough stretches during the season and pushed the T-Birds to 14 straight wins to finish as state champions.
A four-year starter, she is the all-time assist leader in the state of Utah with 3,467. Lee said Damuni is likely the first 5A player to ever earn all-state honors four times.
“Silina is phenomenal, right?” Lee said. “Even if it’s a one-point pass she can make it work, but when Silina is calmed down and she’s able to set her offense, we can keep her in her happy place. She has a lot of good hitters to work with.”
Damuni grew up in Hawaii (her family moved to Provo when she was 10 years old) and said her sister Selai was a big inspiration for her love of sports. Her father, Jack, is a former BYU football player and is now director of football relations at the school. Her brother Raider is currently serving a church mission and committed to play football for the Cougars when he returns.
“The first time I sat in a volleyball gym, it was so much fun,” Silina Damuni said. “I really liked how it was a team sport. You didn’t have to just rely on yourself. It was super fun working together with different girls.”
At 5-foot-9, Damuni has excellent hands and terrific athletic ability that makes her a threat at the net on offense and defense. The T-Birds finished the 2022 season with a 26-7 record, six of those losses coming at elite out-of-state tournaments and while the team was still healing from a rash of injuries.
“We went through quite a bit of adversity at the beginning of the season,” Damuni said. “Watching us grow from that, then winning state, I look back and think, ‘Wow, we did that.’ Out of the four years I was at Timpview, this had to be the team I felt the most connected with. I think that translated on the court and helped us. This year, those girls were my family, my little sisters that I could take care of.”
The T-Birds avenged their only in-state loss by beating No. 2 Mountain View in five sets on Oct. 12, then topped the Bruins again 3-1 in the 5A state title match. In the final, Damuni had 52 assists, 17 digs, six kills, four block assists and a service ace.
Damuni played for Club Utah and was at first an outside hitter, but her coaches convinced her that the path to a college scholarship was as a setter.
“It was an amazing recruiting process,” Damuni said. “We went to the Triple Crown Tournament in Kansas City when I was 14 and I got my first text message from BYU. I was just shocked. It was the best day ever and I remember it so well. From then on, Coach (Heather) Olmstead just kept in contact. I wanted to work as hard as I could until the day I could officially talk to them. They stuck with me the whole time.”
She committed to the Cougars in October in 2021, part of a 2023 recruiting class ranked in the nation’s top 10.
“I’m so excited to play in the Smith Fieldhouse,” she said. “I’ve trained there and gone to so many volleyball camps there. It feels like home. I think our recruiting class is pretty good, I’m not going to lie. It’s a super athletic and versatile class.”