All I want for Christmas ...


POSTED: Thursday, August 20, 2009

If anyone could get a jump—literally—on Christmas, it would be Amber Kaufman. The two-time Western Athletic Conference high jump champion is hoping the holiday comes a week early with Hawaii celebrating its first NCAA title since 1987 in Tampa, Fla.

“;The thing about December ... you just don't want to go home,”; Kaufman said. “;That's when we want to peak.

“;When anyone asks me when I'm coming home, I tell them hopefully never. Because that means we keep on winning.”;

One thing that has come earlier than expected is her senior season. Kaufman had been expected to redshirt as a freshman in 2006, but injuries put her into the starting lineup.

“;It would have been nice to have another year; it's all flown by so quickly,”; she said. “;But I don't think I could have asked for anything more out of my experience here. Whenever anyone asks, I tell them it was the best decision I could have made. I've always been happy here. I'm sad that it's ending, and that I won't be playing in front of our fans any more.”;






”;If people ask me when I'm coming home (in December), I tell them hopefully never. That means we keep winning.”;


Amber Kaufman
        Senior middle blocker




Kaufman enjoys the antipodes of her athletic career. On the track—where she qualified for the 2008 Olympic high jump trials—the competition is very personal. On the volleyball court, it's all about the team.

“;In track, it's just you, your name out there,”; the track All-American said. “;If I don't do well, I no-height, it's on me. Volleyball is a lot more fun, having five other people around. If I'm tanking on the court, Dave (coach Shoji) is going to pull me and it's not going to hurt the team. My teammates will step in.”;

Kaufman has enjoyed success on both ends of the court. She broke the school record against Washington last season with 11 aces, and hit a phenomenal .714 with 10 kills in the NCAA second-round sweep of USC.

Kaufman turned 21 last week. The first present she'd like is a victory Saturday over Santa Clara and a number of her former club teammates.

Then there's the week before Christmas.

“;Can we get to the final four this year? If we play our best, I think we're unbeatable. It's just a matter of getting there.”;

It is, after all, the season for believing.