HSU signs Kapa‘a setter, outside hitter

Kapa‘a High School senior volleyball players Jo Arzadon and Poe Gantt officially signed National Letters of Intent to play volleyball for the Division II school Humboldt State University.

The pair visited the Northern California school back in November.

Gantt’s initial reaction to the volleyball team they practiced with was that they were tall. But now she’s OK with that.

“The thing with us Hawai‘i kids is since we’re smaller, we’re quicker,” Gantt said. “We make up for it with our speed and quickness.”

Gantt, a 5’ 10” outside hitter, three-time Kaua‘i Interscholastic Federation all-star, last year’s KIF player of the year and two-time Hawai‘i High School Association all-state honorable mention said she will focus on jumping higher and lifting weights.

“If I work hard enough, I can possibly start,” she said. “I’m getting excited but I’m getting kind of nervous because it’s almost real.”

Arzadon’s main goal is to play. The 5’ 9” setter, three-time KIF all-star and two-time HHSAA all-state honorable mention said she isn’t that nervous entering the team as a freshman.

“The coach said we fit in,” Arzadon said. “I’m just going to work hard to play.”

But if they were really nervous, they’d have a connection back to the islands to help them. HSU’s assistant volleyball coach is James Kealalio, the son of their high school coach, Joan.

“I don’t really know the Mainland. At least I have him and Jo with me,” Gantt said. “But because he’s one of the coaches doesn’t mean he’s going to be easy on us. It’ll be harder because he expects a lot of us. He’s going to make us run.”

HSU’s head volleyball coach Sue Woodstra released a statement yesterday on the signing of the two players.

“I am excited to have these two join our Lumberjack volleyball program,” Woodstra said. “They have played together for several years and know each other well. In addition, they’ve received some really good training from (HSU assistant coach James Kealalio’s) family. They were part of a team that built from a losing record during their freshman year up to winning the KIF championship. Those experiences should help their transition from high school and club ball to the collegiate level.”

Woodstra also commented on Arzadon’s practice ethic.

“Jo has some intangibles that you look for in a setter; good hands, quick feet, good all-around skills and a competitive spirit,” said Woodstra. “She is a quiet, but very determined leader.”

In addition to Gantt’s four years of varsity volleyball, she played four years of varsity basketball, three years of varsity soccer and one year of track and field, earning both KIF all-star and co-captain honors on the basketball and soccer teams.

“Poe is a tough player who can really hit the ball hard and will bring a different dimension to our outside hitter position,” Woodstra said. “Her ball skills are strong and her movement on the court is very dynamic. She is the type of athlete who will do well in the CCAA.”

The Lumberjacks concluded the 2006 season 9-15 overall mark and a 6-14 league record in their first season competing in the California Collegiate Athletic Association.

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