Katie Arnette has big plans for 2012.
Those plans go well beyond any personal objective for the Oakland High senior volleyball player. No, her goals are all team oriented.
She wants to see Oakland volleyball back in the hunt for a District 7-AAA title, and region berth, a spot the Lady Patriots haven’t been for years.
“We want to leave our mark on the district,” Arnette said. “We really haven’t done that the last few years.
“Our goal we’ve talked about all throughout the preseason is earning a banner, and wanting the district to remember this Oakland team that we put out there.”
Arnette, a 6-foot middle hitter, recorded 608 kills and had 181 blocks for the Lady Patriots in 2011 and was a DNJ All-Area first team selection. She is a four-year starter at Oakland.
Arnette enters the season as the most dominant middle hitter in the county. She committed over the weekend to Eckerd College, an NCAA Division II school in St. Petersburg, Fla. Eckerd reached the NCAA Division II Sweet 16 in 2011.
“It’s a real crazy time right now,” Arnette said of her recruitment earlier this week. “I’ve been trying to figure things out things personally, and for the team.
“We’re in season right now, so that is my first priority. I’ve tried to iron things out with me.”
While Arnette is use to playing the middle at Oakland, she admits she may be moved to the outside at Eckerd. Her improvement in her all-around game has opened the option to play on the outside in college. Oakland coach Jason Sloan even experimented with Arnette on the outside, but decided she would best be served in the middle for the Lady Patriots.
“She’s worked really hard,” Oakland coach Jason Sloan said. “Her hitting has been great, it’s been her defense and her passing that we’ve stressed to her on improving. She’s really done a great job of that this year. She’s better with her passing and her defense, and that’s making her a more complete player.”
Last season as a junior, Arnette began to play around the entire rotation. Prior to that, Sloan would substitute Arnette out for better back row players.
“Sometimes she would struggle with her consistency,” Sloan said. “That’s something she’s improved on. She’s all the way around now.”
Arnette admitted that her improved defense has benefitted her understanding of the game more.
“You see the things that happen in the front (row) when you are back there,” Arnette said. “That experience makes you better. You have to adapt to the situations when you play there.”