HIGH SCHOOL VOLLEYBALL
Klineman looks good at Ann Kang
The 6-4 star recruit has UH on her list of five finalists
Hint No. 1: She is 6-foot-4 with amazing reflexes, agility and hops.
Hint No. 2: She plays with a fierce intensity and trains with passion year-round.
The final hint should be a sign of destiny for all University of Hawaii women's volleyball fans: Alix Klineman looks great in green.
The outside hitter, one of the nation's top recruits, is in town and playing like a future All-American. Mira Costa (Calif.), which won three titles at the Ann Kang Invitational before taking a break last season, is back.
The Mustangs went 35-2 last season and captured the California Interscholastic Federation 2A championship behind a number of talented players. Klineman has narrowed her choices to five schools: Hawaii, Stanford, Texas, UCLA and Washington.
A year ago, she said that a university within her home state was much preferred. Now, however, her outlook has changed.
"I'm willing to leave California as long as I like the school. Part of me wants to get away and experience something new," she said yesterday afternoon between pool-play games at the tournament. "Things have definitely changed a lot 'cause I'm thinking about schools I never used to think of."
Playing with the Mizuno Long Beach Volleyball Club in the offseason has honed her skills and molded her work ethic.
"When you're younger, it's about, 'I like their volleyball program' or 'I like their school.' Now it's more in-depth. What's their training like? For club, it's very technical. I'm used to a lot of repetitions," she said.
That perspective may fit in well at UH, if she chooses the Rainbow Wahine. Coach Dave Shoji has helped many players develop into All-Americans, Olympians and professionals.
"I know the Hawaii coaching staff is great. They've made a lot of good players great," Klineman said. "I know if I go there, I'll get great coaching."
Klineman has visited the Stan Sheriff Center before, and plans to make an official visit sometime soon. She knows about the volleyball culture here.
"Hawaii's volleyball environment is crazy. That's one of the biggest turn-ons for me. It's like our NBA. There's no pro sports in Hawaii, so they've taken to volleyball," she said.
Her parents are relatively flexible about her future choice, though her mother did attend UCLA.
"My parents would love to drive and watch me play," Klineman said. "But they might have to take a plane ride."
More than Alix:
Mira Costa has three other players who have made Division I commitments. Middle blocker Lauren Bledsoe has committed to Florida, while setter Kendall Bateman has committed to USC. Hayley Lawson will play for Davidson.
Sheri Sagayaga bid her Radford squad a tearful aloha last week when she accepted an assistant coaching position at Hawaii Pacific. Her name is listed as Radford's head coach in the tournament program, but her assistant coaches have taken over.
"It was really hard. They're all returnees," said Sagayaga, who returned to high school coaching at Radford after a long stint at Moanalua. "I miss my kids, but I'm ready to try a new level."
She will assist new HPU head coach Darryl Kapis. In her two-plus seasons with the Lady Rams, the program rebounded. Radford played for the Division II state championship last season.