Star-Bulletin Sports

Wednesday, August 4, 1999

W A H I N E _ V O L L E Y B A L L

Wahine no surprise
as top pick

By Cindy Luis


Was there any question who would be the preseason favorite?

In three years of Western Athletic Conference membership, the University of Hawaii women's volleyball team has gone 43-1 in regular-season matches, 50-3 overall, including the conference tournament.

All three losses have been to Brigham Young. The Cougars have since bolted for the Mountain West, leaving the Wahine the near-unanimous favorite to defend their crown in the eight-team WAC.

"It don't think it's any surprise," said Hawaii coach Dave Shoji, beginning his 25th season. "I think everyone feels like we're the favorite. I think we're the favorite.

"We won it last year and, with 4 starters back and a good recruiting class, it's natural people will pick us."

Hawaii received the maximum possible first-place votes in the WAC coaches' preseason poll released yesterday. All seven coaches who could pick UH to win did. A coach could not vote for his or her own team; Shoji gave his vote to San Jose State.

The Wahine had 49 points, with Fresno State second with 39 points. Rice and San Jose State were tied for third with 35 points.

Hawaii finished 32-3 last season, losing to Florida, 3-2, in the final of the East Regional. Shoji was named the WAC Coach of the Year and Wahine Heather Bown, Jessica Sudduth and Heidi Ilustre were named to the all-conference team.

The Wahine open fall practice next Tuesday. The annual alumnae match is scheduled for Aug. 28.
Ka Leo O Hawaii

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