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Friday, September 17, 2004



[ WAHINE VOLLEYBALL ]


art
GEORGE F. LEE / GLEE@STARBULLETIN.COM
Sophomore Alicia Arnott has stepped into a starting role this season for the Rainbow Wahine and has responded with some impressive statistics.


Showtime
for Arnott

The Hawaii sophomore
is tuned in to her new roll
as an impact player


ALICIA Arnott is a surfer.

Give her a board, give her a canoe, give her a remote. It doesn't matter.

She hits the waves and the TV channels with equal ardor. She can do switchbacks as well as switch stations.

Arnott was born to click.

Waikiki Beach Marriott Invitational

Where: Stan Sheriff Center

Schedule: Today, No. 14 Cal (4-2) at No. 7 Hawaii (6-0), 7 p.m.; tomorrow, UC Irvine (7-0) at Hawaii, 7 p.m.; Sunday, Cal vs. UC Irvine, 3 p.m.

Radio: UH matches, live, KKEA 1420-AM.

TV: UH matches live, KFVE (Ch. 5).

Tickets: $3-16 today and tomorrow. No charge Sunday.

The latest change has been from Food Network to CBS ("The Amazing Race"). No, wait, ABC ("Extreme Makeover: Home Edition"). No, USA ("Eco-Challenge").

And DIY? Arnott pretty much enjoys any show that will let her dream, design and decorate. "Be Your Own Contractor" must have been created with her in mind.

The Outdoor Life Network may be new to cable, but it's been Arnott's personal reality show since she was very young. Always athletic, always adventurous.

This season, Arnott has more than risen to the challenge given her by the Hawaii volleyball coaches. The sophomore left-side hitter needed to become a force if the Rainbow Wahine were to maintain their traditional high level of excellence.

The 6-footer capped her first two weeks as a starter with a career-high 20 kills in the amazing comeback over UCLA last Saturday. Arnott has been in double-figure kills all six matches, five of those she has also had double-figure digs.

"She gets better and better every time out," Hawaii coach Dave Shoji said.

Arnott gets another swing at improving tonight when the No. 7 Rainbow Wahine (6-0) take on No. 12 California (4-2) in the opener of the Waikiki Beach Marriott Invitational.

"We're just taking it one game at a time," said the La Pietra/Hawaii School for Girls graduate. "We have to look at every single game and not look past anyone. Cal is ranked and UCI has a really good outside hitter (Kelly Wing averaging 5.55 kpg).

"For us, in the beginning of the year, we didn't know what to expect. But after the first game, after the way we interacted with each other, I knew that we could be undefeated at this point.

"I am not surprised at all."

Many are surprised, however, not just by the Wahine's unbeaten record but by Arnott's productivity. She showed flashes of power while playing in the shadows of All-American bangers Kim Willoughby and Lily Kahumoku last season.

And now, with a starting spot to call her own and a faster-paced offense, Arnott has emerged as a weapon, going from a 1.25 kill average and a .155 hitting percentage with 79 kills her freshman season to 3.62 kpg, a .209 percentage and 94 kills after only six matches.

"It's amazing how much she has grown from last year," UH assistant coach Kari Anderson Ambrozich said. "This offense is made for her, her quick feet and quick arm swing.

"She's very strong. She hits the ball very hard. Even though she's lean, she has a lot of muscle. She's made a serious lifestyle commitment, from eating habits to her workouts. People don't realize how much work she puts into getting in very good physical condition."

Pound for pound, the slim Arnott is one of the strongest Wahine.

She began weightlifting in high school. Her athletic training began before that, encouraged by her father Tom, a longtime volleyball player for Outrigger Canoe Club.

Alicia was born in Hilo and lived on the Big Island until the family moved when she was 12. Her love of the outdoors moved right along as she took up surfing, canoe paddling, biking and soccer.

"I like anything outdoors," she said. "I don't like sitting still.

"And I like lifting weights. It gives you more energy and you feel better about yourself after a workout."

Volleyball, although an indoor game, was a given.

Arnott had a very successful club and prep career. She was first-team all-state as a senior, a three-time Junior Olympic All-American and a Volleyball magazine Fab 50 pick as one of the 50 top prep girls in 2002-03.

Originally Arnott thought she wanted to play on the mainland, receiving several offers. But she realized that home was the place to be.

"I wanted to go away until my junior year," she said. "Then it hit me. Why do I want to go away when, every time I do, I'm itching to get back?

"If I don't see the ocean or water ... I knew I couldn't do that."

But she has lists of things she does want to do: the women's Molokai-to-Oahu outrigger canoe race, the Eco-Challenge, hang-gliding, skydiving, swimming with sharks ...

"I'd love to be on either 'Survivor' or 'The Amazing Race,' " she said. "I'd go for the extreme challenges.

"And if I really could do anything, I'd love to work on 'Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.' I love to build things, love watching interior-design shows. I'd love to be a contractor."

When she was younger, Arnott used to design houses and draw floor plans. She thought about studying architecture, but, with an internship requirement, it wouldn't work with her athletic commitment.

Instead, she's helped the Wahine build an undefeated season, drawing up some big plans for this year.

"Last year was supposed to be 'The Year' to win (the national title)," she said of the team that finished third nationally with a 38-2 record. "We've been joking about what if we won it this year. It would be like, 'What the heck?'

"But sometimes you can have the best players and still not be the best team. It doesn't work if you're not playing as a team. The UCLA setter (Krystal McFarland) told us last week, 'I don't know why they think it's a rebuilding year. You're playing well as a team.' "

Things are going well for Arnott and the Wahine this year. And there's one program she won't be tuning into any time soon:

"Trading Spaces."


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