Friday, October 1, 1999
Coin made the
call for Carey...
well, sort of
Freshman starting setter
Jennifer Carey flipped a coin to
choose Hawaii as her college,
but the match was more
than mere luck
WAHINE PLAYBOOKBy Cindy Luis
It was a flip of a coin.
That's how Jennifer Carey chose to play for the Hawaii women's volleyball team over Penn State.
Heads, Hawaii. Tails ... Hawaii, too.
"I did flip a coin but I pretty much knew it would be Hawaii either way,'' said Carey, the 6-foot-1 Wahine freshman setter. "I just decided one day that I wanted the whole recruiting process to be over with and I wanted to make my decision.
"My mom and I talked about what I really wanted out of my college experience and what would fit me the best. I made my decision and have never looked back. I love our team. This feels right.''
Carey is the first freshman setter to start since first-year players Martina Cincerova and Melinda Beckenhauer battled over the position in 1985. Beckenhauer transferred after her first season; Cincerova went on to lead Hawaii to the 1987 NCAA title and a runner-up finish in 1988.
Ironically, it will be Hawaii's other freshman setter - Margaret Vakasausau - who will be starting tonight against Texas Christian in the WAC opener for both teams. Carey, who says she's always wanted to be a cheerleader, will have a chance to do just that from the sidelines.
Carey was held out of practice all week with an inflamed right toe and is wearing a walking boot for protection. The injury that she describes as a "turf toe'' jam normally associated with football has bothered her since the Wahine were in double-day practices in August.
"It's a hard role for me, I haven't sat much in my career,'' said the prep all-American from Newport Harbor (Calif.) High. "But I have all the confidence in the world in Margaret. She'll do a great job.''
Vakasausau as the starting setter nearly was the permanent solution for this year. Junior Tehani Miyashiro, the backup last season to Nikki Hubbert, left the program and many believed Carey was headed to UCLA.
But Bruin coach Andy Banachowski said he was out of scholarships and asked her to walk on. Carey surprised him by calling Hawaii coach Dave Shoji.
"I was raised to be a Bruin, I was going to their games forever,'' said Carey. "It was more of a shock than being hurt when I didn't get a scholarship.
"It was the best thing to happen for me, but I didn't find that out until I got here and found out how much I belonged in Hawaii.''
Against the Bruins last month, Carey had Banachowski shaking his head over the player he let slip away. She had 42 assists, was in on four blocks and had six kills (.500) and 10 digs in Hawaii's 3-1 victory over UCLA.
"We're certainly glad we have Jen in our program,'' said Shoji. "Let's just say it was a pleasant surprise when she accepted the scholarship. You never know about a recruit until they actually commit.
"We knew she could play. Playing in big games doesn't faze her. It's more of the location and technique that she has to work on. I think she's more than done the job that we've needed her to do.''
Carey has led the Wahine to a No. 3 ranking and an 11-0 record. She has seven double-doubles (assists and digs) in 11 outings, leads the team in digs and is second in the WAC in assist average.
"If there is a freshman in the country who could step in and set for a high-level Division I program, it would be Jennifer,'' said former Rainbow men's player Tom Pestolesi, an assistant coach at Carey's high school. "She's an awesome player.''
Both of Carey's parents are former players, dad George on the beach, mom Becky at UC Irvine. Both parents also coached, so "I grew up in the gym,'' said Carey. "I couldn't wait to play. I'd see the girls get their hair braided before a game, saw how sharp they looked in their uniform and saw how much fun they were having.
"I saw how much fun it was to win after working so hard and how bad it was to lose.''
Carey made the varsity as a freshman but played behind current Loyola Marymount setter Jeannette Hecker her first season. Carey led the Sailors to two consecutive CIF titles as a junior and a senior, and was named the CIF player of the year as a senior.
"I've always been a setter,'' she said. "I don't care that much for hitting. I get a bigger thrill out of putting up a good set and watching my teammate put down a kill.
"I play volleyball because it's a team sport and I like the focus on the team, not me.''
And Hawaii is working out well for Carey on and off the court.
"There were five things I looked for when I looked for a college: academics, athletics, location, size and student life. This feels right.''
Carey would eventually like to go into sports marketing, sports contract law or being a sports agent. Right now, the focus is bringing her team home for the final four in December.
"It does take a lot of guts to come all the way out here to play, but once you get here, it feels like it's family. Coming here was the easy answer to a difficult decision.''
How hard could it have been. Heads, Hawaii. Tails, Hawaii.
Schedule-Tonight: Texas Christian ((6-8), 7 p.m. Sunday: Fresno State (6-7), 5 p.m., Stan Sheriff Center.
vs. TCU & Fresno State
Coaches-Hawaii: Dave Shoji (25th season, 692-135-1); TCU: Sandy Troudt (4th season, 30-79). Fresno State: Lindy Vivas (9th season, 167-108).
Series: Hawaii leads TCU, 2-0. The teams met for the first time in 1997, with the Wahine winning in straight sets in Fort Worth and in Honolulu. Hawaii leads Fresno State, 21-0 overall, 8-0 in WAC. The last meeting was a 3-1 victory at Fresno, Calif.
Top players-Hawaii: Heather Bown (6-3 Sr. MB) 2.33 bpg, 4.36 kpg, .363; Jessica Sudduth (6-2 Jr. LS)3.24 kpg, 2.75 dpg, 13 aces, 36 blocks; Veronica Lima (6-2 So. MB)2.08 kpg, 2.81 dpg, 1.31 47 blocks, 17 aces; Lily Kahumoku (6-2 Fr. LS) 3.38 kpg, .294, 2.35 dpg. TCU: Jill Pape (5-10 Sr. OH) 3.04 kpg, 3.13 dpg.213, 16 aces), Allison Lynch (6-0 So. MB) 2.94 kpg, 1.02 bpg; Marci King (6-1 So. OH) 2.91 kpg, 2.51 dpg. FSU: Shauna McQuaid (6-1 So. MB) 2.89 kpg, .301, 1.07bpg; Diann Aufdermaur (5-9 Sr. S) 10.46 apg, 3.05 dpg; Lindsey Close (6-1 Fr. MB) 3.72 kpg, .228, 18 aces, 49 blocks; Anamie Buckelew (6-1 R. MB) 4.48 kpg, 14 aces, 2.74 dpg.
About the Wahine: No. 3 Hawaii (11-0) ran its home winning streak to 28 with two victories over No. 23 Loyola Marymount. The skein dates back to the third match of the 1998 season. The Wahine had 25 blocks against the Lions in the 3-2 victory last Friday and 12 blocks in Saturday's victory. Senior All-American Bown, who leads the country in blocks, had 12 blocks Friday. Freshman Kahumoku had 15 kills, hitting .448, Saturday ...Hawaii will be without its starting setter, Jennifer Carey (inflamed toe), tonight. Taking over the reins of the Wahine for the first time will be freshman Margaret Vakasausau (University Lab) ... Coach Shoji is eight wins away from 700 career victories, only the sixth coach that will reach that mark ... Hawaii continues to lead the country in attendance, averaging 7,279, nearly 3,500 more than Nebraska... The Wahine are 43-1 in WAC regular-season matches.
About the VolleyFrogs: TCU has not played a match since Sept. 22, when it lost to Sam Houston State in four. TCU had won five of six before the loss ... Senior captain Pape miss her first match of her career when she was sidelined against Northern Iowa Sept. 3. It snapped a playing streak of 96 matches. Until then, she had competed in every match of the program's four-year history... Pape, defensive specialist Stacy Olson and middle blocker Jessica Rangel are finishing out their four-year careers at TCU, the school's first senior class in the sport... The TCU media guide is 144 pages compared to Hawaii's 88.
About the Bulldogs: Fresno State is coming off a 15-2, 15-9, 15-3 loss to No. 7 Stanford, a match that lasted 62 minutes at FSU's North Gym. The attendance was 1,217, fourth-best in school history.The Bulldogs were outblocked by the Cardinal, 11-3, and gave up six aces. FSU hit negative for the match (-.029) a first for the program ... Freshman Closs has been a pleasant surprise, posting 10 or more kills in seven of the team's 13 matches. She had her first triple-double in an 0-3 loss to Nevada. ... Aufdermaur, the third setter to reach 3,000 assists, is second in all-time assists at FSU. Coach Vivas is a graduate of Punahou School.
On the air: Both matches live on KFVE (Channel 5) and KCCN (1420-AM).
Tickets: $5-$9 (upper level only).
By Cindy Luis, Star-Bulletin
Ka Leo O Hawaii