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Tuesday, October 12, 2004 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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High School Sports

Flashback: Tuiasosopo still helping UW volleyball team win

Name: Leslie Tuiasosopo

Sport: Volleyball

High-school rewind: Helped Woodinville to back-to-back Class 4A state-tournament appearances as a sophomore and junior and one trip to the state basketball tournament before dropping the sport as a sophomore. The three-time All-KingCo volleyball pick was the state's top volleyball recruit by her senior year.

After high school: Started four years at UW, where she earned All-Pac-10 freshman honors and as a junior was named first-team All-Pac-10 middle blocker. Led Huskies team that reached NCAA Sweet 16 in its 20-win 1997 season. Second on UW's all-time blocks list. Later played in 1999 World University Games and professionally in Spain.

After athletics: Returned to Seattle to take an assistant-coaching position with UW volleyball program, where she is in her fourth year with team that has vaulted to No. 1 in nation.

Personal: Tuiasosopo, 27, lives in her family's Woodinville home. She is the oldest of five children of former Seahawk Manu Tuiasosopo and his wife, Tina. Brothers Marques (NFL's Oakland Raiders) and Matt (Mariners farm system) have followed her into pro sports. Another, Zach, is a member of UW football program.

Fast forward: After completing her college eligibility and securing a degree in psychology, with a minor in speech communication, Tuiasosopo strongly considered a career in health care. But she played pro volleyball overseas and then jumped at the chance when invited to join the Huskies' coaching staff the next year.

"I still had a love and passion for the sport, but didn't have the drive to get up in the morning and work out like I used to," she said with a laugh.

"I've fallen in love with it," she said of coaching. "One of these days I'd like to be a head coach, but right now I don't think I'm ready."

— J.R. Rardon

Copyright © 2004 The Seattle Times Company

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