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H A W A I I _ S P O R T S


Thursday, September 21, 2000



Leota helps
BYUH fill void

Though only a freshman replacing a departed three-time All-American on the defending national championship team, Brigham Young University-Hawaii volleyball setter Telenia Leota doesn't dwell on the past.

Known affectionately to both teammates and friends as "Nia," Leota has real clear ideas on the type of player she wants to be and the potential of her relatively young team.

Leota is of Samoan ancestry and originally from Kaysville, Utah. She redshirted last year at Division I Utah State, but transferred here.

Now she's faced with the task of replacing star Juliana Lima and running an offense that is new to her.

Telenia Leota
"Rankings are just what other
people have to say about us."

"The new coach at Utah State wanted to go with a taller setter and I didn't want to just play back-row," said the 5-8 Leota. "Then I looked at BYUH and thought it was a great opportunity to come in and play setter in a good program. Plus, BYUH is a church school, which is very important to me, and I have relatives here."

As for replacing the big shoes left by Lima, Leota deflects questions with respect for the history of the Seasiders' program and its past players, but clearly with a focus on the present and future.

"I never saw her (Lima) play, but I expected there to be All-Americans on a national championship team," Leota said. "I'm more concerned about this year though, and our team, and fulfilling my role to make this team successful. I don't feel her shadow because I wasn't here before."

BYUH coach Wilfred Navalta also expressed his own confidence that Leota can be more than just a capable replacement. Said Navalta: "As far as the technical skills, she's already about 75-80 percent there, but the mental side of her game needs to develop. She's adjusting to our style of play, but she's definitely gotten better since the start of the season."

Leota and the Seasiders (5-3) opened the season in the top spot in the national rankings, but have since dropped to No. 9 after several early-season losses. Local rival Hawaii Pacific University (9-0) has assumed the top spot in the AVCA Division II coaches poll on the strength of a more experienced and balanced squad. The two teams will clash in their first Pacific West Conference matchup of the year at 7:30 p.m. this Friday at Cannon Activities Center on the BYUH campus.

"Rankings are just what other people have to say about us," Leota said. "There not in the gym practicing with us, and that's fine. We have a very athletic and versatile team, though we are young, and anything is possible."

Sant'Anna volleyball Player of Week

HPU wahine volleyball senior outside hitter Debbie Sant'Anna was named PacWest Player of the Week. The 6-1 All-American from Sao Paulo, Brazil tallied 21 kills, 22 digs, two aces and a block as the Sea Warriors opened their conference schedule with a pair of straight-game wins over Chaminade and UH-Hilo.

Sant'Anna is HPU's all-time leader in service aces (101) and has surpassed the 1000 kill mark for her career.

Snildal soccer Player of Week

HPU's Jannicke Snildal was cited PacWest Player of the Week in women's soccer after scoring a pair of game-winning overtime goals last week in non-conference games.

The 5-8 senior forward from Orkanger, Norway has six goals so far this season and is the Sea Warriors' career leader with 23.

By Brandon Lee Special to the Star-Bulletin

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