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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, July 22, 2004

3 Rainbow Wahine on preseason all-WAC list

By Ann Miller
Advertiser Staff Writer

Fresno State senior Kristen Fenton broke Hawai'i's volleyball stranglehold yesterday when she was named Western Athletic Conference Preseason Player of the Year in a vote of conference coaches. It is the first time a Rainbow Wahine has not earned the honor.


Name School Yr.

Tristin Adams Nevada So.

Alicia Arnott Hawai'i So.

Tiffany Bishop Fresno State Sr.

Kristen Fenton Fresno State Sr.

Cameron Flunder Boise State So.

Kanoe Kamana'o Hawai'i So.

Rebecca Kainz Rice Sr.

Robyn Keune Fresno State Jr.

Rebeca Pazo Rice Sr.

Tuli Peters Fresno State So.

Victoria Prince Hawai'i Jr.

Salaia Salave'a Nevada Jr.

Player of the Year: Kristen Fenton

Hawai'i does make up a quarter of the 12-player all-WAC preseason team, but one 'Bow was a reserve last year and the other has yet to put on a UH uniform.

Sophomore Kanoe Kamana'o, the 2003 AVCA National Freshman of the Year, is the only starter returning from last year as UH looks to win its ninth consecutive conference title. Teammates Alicia Arnott and Victoria Prince join her on the all-WAC preseason team.

Arnott, a 2003 La Pietra graduate, was a reserve hitter as a freshman. She started three matches because of injuries and had a season-high 10 kills against Rice. In 63 games, she averaged 1.25 kills, hit .155 and had 20 aces.

"Obviously, she is unproven, but she was one of the top recruits in the country two years ago so people know she's a good player," UH coach Dave Shoji said. "She still needs to prove herself. She's never played a significant amount."

Prince, a 6-foot middle blocker/hitter from Kennewick, Wash., played her first two seasons at Washington State then sat out last year after deciding to transfer. She helped the Cougars reach the elite eight in 2002, when she was sixth in the Pac-10 in blocking and earned a spot on the all-East Region team.

Shoji compared Prince to Nohea Tano because of her quickness and athleticism. Tano started for UH the last three years after transferring from WSU.

Still, Shoji was surprised at Prince's inclusion on the all-WAC team: "I didn't think anybody knew who she was."

Kamana'o, Fenton, Nevada's Salaia Salave'a and Rice senior Rebeca Pazo were first-team all-WAC selections last season. Fenton averaged 5.21 kills and earned honorable mention All-America honors, as did Kamana'o.

Kahuku graduate Tuli Peters is one of four Bulldogs — and five sophomores — on the preseason all-WAC team.

Hawai'i opens its season Sept. 2 against Eastern Washington. The first WAC match is Sept. 30 at Fresno State, which was picked to finish second behind UH in the preseason poll.

"It's not going to be three (games) and out automatically anymore," Shoji said. "It will be more hard fought in the WAC this year. If we go three, it will be because we played really well."

Caroline Blood, recruited to Hawai'i as a softball pitcher, will try to walk on to the volleyball team. Blood is 6-1 and "very athletic and coordinated, with quick feet," Shoji said. "She's just inexperienced in volleyball. ... She has some athletic ability we need to bring out."

There are 18 names on the UH roster for the first day of practice, Aug. 13.

Reach Ann Miller at amiller@honoluluadvertiser.com or 525-8043.