UA VOLLEYBALL

Arizona volleyball: 'Superfly' kin brings energy to Wildcats

2013-08-21T00:00:00Z Arizona volleyball: 'Superfly' kin brings energy to WildcatsZack Rosenblatt Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
August 21, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Penina Snuka knows she'll never win the "quiet game."

She talks a lot, she talks fast, and as a setter, she plays even faster.

"Sometimes I just turn around after the block, I think the ball's down, and all of a sudden it's up, and I don't even know where she came from sometimes," said outside hitter Taylor Arizobal

But, Snuka knows where the energy comes from.

"Well," she said, "probably my dad. My grandfather too. He always came in with energy.

"We have a pretty intense family."

Her grandfather's energy, in fact, was legendary.

He made a living out of climbing turnbuckles and catapulting his 250-pound frame, arms and legs fully extended, onto another wrestler laying helplessly in wait.

Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka is a WWE Hall of Famer, and that was his signature move, the "Superfly Splash."

"I was never a huge wrestling fan," said head coach Dave Rubio. "But, I remember watching him do his flips off the wire."

Every now and again, Snuka says her "old school" teammates and coaches will call her "Superfly," but don't expect her to make the same kind of "splash" as her grandfather anytime soon.

Or her father, Jimmy Jr., for that matter. He's a retired WWE star too, and her aunt, Tamina, still wrestles.

"My mom didn't allow us to watch it," she said. "But that's fine, because I don't like it at all. The wrestling world, that's not for me. I'll support my family if they choose to do that, but it's not for me."

Rubio, for one, is happy about that.

Snuka, a Gilbert product who played her senior year in Hawaii, comes highly touted. But, not because of her family lineage.

Last year, Volleyball Magazine named Snuka one of their Fab 50, which is a list of the top 50 high school seniors in the country. PrepVolleyball.com had her ranked No. 34 in its list of the Top 100 seniors, too.

"Well," Rubio said. "I think she's been as advertised."

Now that setters Chanel Brown and Lauren Fuller have left the Wildcats, you can expect Snuka to take the floor when Arizona opens its season on Aug. 30 against Morgan State.

"One of the reasons I recruited her was because of that personality and charisma that she brings to a team in arguably the most influential position on the team," Rubio said. "She can make an impact on this team, and it's been fun coaching her. The players enjoy playing with her."

Added libero Ronni Lewis: "She will run through a wall for a ball. No matter what, she'll break her neck. She's definitely bringing some energy, some life into our team. She can be that spark that we need."

It is a spark the Wildcats could have used in 2012, when they went 16-15 and fell just short of the NCAA Tournament.

Snuka might not be "Superfly," but she's ready to make a splash.

"My parents always tease me that I'm like a fifth-gear type of person," Snuka said. "I go 110 percent at everything."

Up next

• What: Arizona Invitational - Arizona vs. Morgan State

• Where: McKale Center

• When: 1:30 p.m. Aug. 30

Contact reporter Zack Rosenblatt at zrosenblatt@azstarnet.com or 573-4145. On Twitter @ZackBlatt

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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