Star-Bulletin Sports


Wednesday, August 11, 1999


D I V I S I O N - I I _ V O L L E Y B A L L



Art


Preseason poll gives
No. 1 nod to Sea Warriors

Bullet AVCA Top 25
Bullet 1999 Schedule

By Cindy Luis
Star-Bulletin

Tapa

Living La Vida Loca.

That's Tita Ahuna. Her crazy life yesterday meant squeezing a practice in between a phone call to Brazil to a 6-foot-1 recruit and having her Hawaii Pacific volleyball team named No. 1 in the preseason NCAA Division II poll.

The ulcers usually come around mid-season. They've arrived early, much like Ahuna's Sea Warriors.

In its first year of NCAA Division II play, Hawaii Pacific won a national title. Now the Sea Warriors are in the preseason hot spot for the first time, a position usually received for cross-island rival Brigham Young-Hawaii, ranked No. 2 yesterday.

"I'm excited for the ladies, I think they deserve to be ranked No. 1," said Ahuna. "They were overlooked so much last season. We still have our work cut out for us and can't let that ranking go to our heads. We have to be humble and work hard.



"I'm excited for the ladies,
I think they deserve to be ranked No. 1.
They were overlooked so much
last season. We still have our
work cut out for us."

Tita Ahuna

SEA WARRIORS COACH

Tapa

"It's easier to motivate when you're not No. 1. I have to put it into my ladies' minds that we are no longer national champs. We have to fight again to become No. 1."

Hawaii Pacific returns five starters from a team that went 31-5 en route to its second national title, first since the NAIA crown in 1990. The lone loss was team captain Jhoana Maristela, a 5-7 hitter/setter, whom Ahuna has more than replaced with two junior transfers.

Joining the Sea Warriors are Flavia Gabinio, a 6-3 hitter who was a two-time All-American at College of Southern Idaho and the 1996 Junior College Player of the Year; and Kristi Lezchuk, a 5-7 hitter/setter from Foothills Community College in California. Gabinio and current Hawaii Pacific senior Hai Yan Wang were teammates at CSI, where they went 121-1 in winning two NJCAA national titles.

"Our two transfers are excellent players who are very talented and should make a huge impact," said Ahuna. "On paper, we look good. But paper means nothing.

"We had to work very hard last year to win. Our ladies now know what it takes."

Besides Wang, Hawaii Pacific also returns 6-1 hitter Debbie Sant'Anna, who shattered the school single-season records for kills, kills per game, digs and aces. Setter Nia Tuitele is back after a spectacular freshman year where she broke the school's all-time assist mark.

"I'm optimistic but we have a tough conference and tough region," said Ahuna, captain of the University of Hawaii's last NCAA title team in 1987. "BYU-Hawaii will have a very good team. They set the standard every year. And we're not looking past our first match with Regis (Aug. 26). They're ranked No. 5.

"We'll see what happens. It's a good team, with good attitudes. They play with a lot of heart."

Tapa

AVCA Coaches Top 25 poll

NCAA Division II

With '98 record and final ranking
First-place votes in parentheses

			W	L	Pts	LY
1. Hawaii Pacific (14) 	31	5	610	3
2. BYU-Hawaii (10) 	28	2	569	1
 3. Tampa (1) 		32	3	549	2
4. N. Dakota St. 	33	4	534	5
5. Regis 		31	4	459	4
6. N. Alabama 		38	6	458	11
7. Barry 		25	7	446	8
8. Augustana 		26	8	440	10
9. C. Missouri		27	5	419	6
10. N. Michigan 	30	6	385	7
11. N. Kentucky 	29	4	350	15
12. CS Bakersfield 	22	7	344	18
13. W. Texas A&M 	25	7	328	12
14. Fla. Southern	27	7	310	9
15. S. Dakota St 	23	9	255	14
16. N. Florida	 	26	8	248	16
17. Neb-Omaha	 	21	11	164	22
18. Colo. Christian 	22	9	156	21
19. UC Riverside 	23	7	136	20
20. The Met 		26	11	114	13
21. Neb-Kearney 	23	10	109	19
22. CS S.Bernardino 	24	5	89	-
23. CS Los Angeles 	24	7	83	25
24. Rockhurst	 	42	3	74	23
25. Minn-Duluth 	21	7	73	-
Tapa


1999 Sea Warriors' schedule

August

26: Regis.

September

1: CSU San Bernardino. 2-4: at Hawaiian Style Classic (Bethel, Briar Cliff, BYU-Hawaii, CSU San Bernardino, Chaminade, UH-Hilo, HPU, Mars Hill, Morningside, Peru State, Ouachita Baptist, Quincy), Hilo. 5: Bethel, 3 p.m. 6: Peru State, 6 p.m. 11: Alumnae-Faculty exhibition. 18: x-Chaminade. 22: x-at Chaminade. 24: x-BYU-Hawaii. 25: x-at BYU-Hawaii.

October

1: x- Hawaii-Hilo. 2: x-Chaminade. 8: x-at Seattle Pacific. 9: x-at Western Washington. 15: x-Seattle U. 16: x-Simon Fraser. 21: x-at Chaminade. 22: x-at Hawaii-Hilo. 29: x-at Alaska-Fairbanks. 30: x-at Alaska-Anchorage.

November

5: x-Western New Mexico. 6: x-Montana State-Billings. 11-13: Pacific West Tournament, at home of West Division champion. 19-20: NCAA II West Regionals, TBA.

December

3-5: NCAA II national championship, TBA.

x-denotes Pacific West Conference match.

All home matches 7:30 p.m. at St. Andrew's Priory gym unless noted otherwise.




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