Alofipo's 1st year one to remember
December 2, 2005
Salt Lake Tribune
By Rachel Atkinson
For Celestial Alofipo, topping this year, her first on Westminster's women's volleyball team, will be difficult. For the first time in school history, the Griffins won the Frontier Conference and participated in the regional tournament. In addition, Alofipo was named first-team all-conference and the league's freshman of the year. Alofipo said there isn't just one aspect of the game or season she likes most.
"I just love it because of how competitive it is," she said. "It's the competition and the intensity. I don't know how to explain it, I just love it."
Westminster coach Kim Norman said Alofipo was a strong addition to the team. "She is soft-spoken but a hard worker and a good teammate," Norman said. "She has developed into a top starter for our team and will go far as a player and student."
Alofipo got her start in volleyball at a young age. She was born in American Samoa, where her father played volleyball.
"My dad played in tournaments and won championships across the islands," she said. "He pretty much taught me the basics of volleyball."
When she was 7, her family moved to the United States, finally settling in Utah when Alofipo was 12. She began to play volleyball shortly thereafter.
"When I was in seventh grade my dad started training me," she said. "He put a net up in the backyard so my time on 'the court' was just in the backyard. After he starting training me, I just fell in love with it."
Although Alofipo began playing early, she didn't play competitive volleyball until her junior year at Hunter High.
At Hunter, she learned more about the game and was a great contributor to the team. Her senior year, Alofipo made the senior all-star team, reached the state tournament and broke the school record in kills.
She originally thought she would play at Salt Lake Community College when she graduated, but chose instead to play at Westminster because coach Norman impressed her.
There are many differences playing at the collegiate level and Alofipo gained a greater understanding of the game playing at Westminster this year.
"In high school, they just give you a spot to stand in," she says. "Now, Kim goes into more depth. She's more detailed. She tells you certain times to stand here and there, and why."
The oldest of eight, Alofipo is the first in her family to attend college and realizes the importance of getting her education while at Westminster. She would like to study either business or law.
"The reason why we moved to America was for education," she said. "I'm trying to set an example for my siblings because that is my job being the oldest. It is a family goal to finish through all the way."
She hopes to continue to be a good example, both in school and volleyball, for her siblings, two of which currently play volleyball at Hunter.
Although her first year playing collegiate volleyball was successful, Alofipo anticipates next season she will be able to play even better.
"I want to be more athletic and be a smarter player," she said. "I am going to work on hitting anywhere I want on the court and on being able to control the ball more."