Wednesday, November 8, 2000
The University of Hawaii women's volleyball team has signed the player it really wanted.
Wahine sign top
player in Saleaumua
By Pat Bigold
Jennifer Saleaumua, a 5-foot-11 outside hitter from Bonita Vista High (36-0) in Chula Vista, Calif., faxed her letter of intent into the volleyball office this morning.
"She is, in our estimation, probably the best volleyball player in the country," said Hawaii associate head coach Charlie Wade. "As far as her ability to walk in and play at the highest level, this is the best kid out there. Our fans are going to love the way she plays."
Saleaumua, whose team is ranked No. 8 in the Fox Fab 50, is considered a candidate for national prep player of the year, according to Wade.
"She's been No. 1 on our board since early in the recruiting season," said Hawaii head coach Dave Shoji from his hotel in Tulsa, Okla., today. "She brings a lot of excitement to the volleyball court and I think she could help us right away."
Saleaumua is counted on to fill the lone vacancy in next season's starting lineup.
Saleaumua said she chose unbeaten Hawaii (No. 2 in AVCA/USA Today poll) over Nebraska (No. 1), Arizona (No. 3) and Colorado State (No. 5).
"I knew in my heart I wanted to go to Hawaii since my sophomore year," said Saleaumua, in a phone call from her school today.
She gave an initial verbal commitment to Arizona but changed her mind after talking it over with her parents. Saleaumua has several relatives in the islands.
"They (Hawaii coaches) expect me to come in and do things for them and that's very exciting," said Saleaumua. "I'm stoked."
Bonita Vista head coach Carolyn Taetafa-Hudson, who played for the Wahine in 1988, said Saleaumua played with Hawaii freshman Kim Willoughby on the junior national team.
"She's an overall player with a great vertical," said Taetafa-Hudson, who is also Saleaumua's aunt. "She receives serves and hits high balls, so you can play her on the left or the right," said Wade.
Hawaii has two more scholarships open for 2001 and there's a chance that one of them could be filled during the week-long early signing period.
Ka Leo O Hawaii