THE UNDEFEATED Hawaii Pacific volleyball team has not played a real match in nearly two weeks.
HPU eager to get
back on the court
DIVISION II REPORT
By Brandon Lee and Jerry Campany
Though it has nothing to do with last week's national tragedy and is simply a scheduling quirk of the newly configured six-team Pacific West Conference, the match for the defending national champions at Montana State-Billings (7-3, 1-1 PacWest) tonight marks their first game action since a win over Hawaii-Hilo on Sept. 8.
The top-ranked Sea Warriors (8-0, 2-0) left Wednesday night eager to play again, despite having to get on an airplane so soon after the terrorist attacks. The Sea Warriors are riding a current NCAA Division II-best 36-match winning streak dating back to the beginning of last season.
"The girls want to play," coach Tita Ahuna said. "We're going up to see what happens; we gotta play our games. No one has voiced their hesitancy if they are afraid (of flying)."
The Sea Warriors' road trip includes another match with the Yellowjackets tomorrow night, then two at Western New Mexico on Monday and Tuesday nights. The Sea Warriors are then scheduled to come back late Wednesday night, and have to be ready for a game against Chaminade less than 48 hours later.
"I think the layoff was good for us," Ahuna said. "To heal injuries, time for rest, time to work on individual skills, which we desperately needed. We're hungry to play."
Chaminade:The Silverswords (3-5) have had an even longer hiatus from game action than HPU. Chaminade has not played since Sept. 3 and will be the last of the local schools to begin PacWest play when it hosts BYUH (5-2, 1-1) tonight at 7:30 at McCabe Gym. The Silverswords host another game against the Seasiders tomorrow night, before facing off with HPU next weekend.
"Not playing games doesn't help," coach Glennie Adams said. "But we're ready. We've just been gearing up to play."
Brigham Young-Hawaii:Karla Ribeiro has dug up 3.71 balls per game, tops in the conference. Vanja Kalabic has emerged as the Seasiders' go-to guy in water polo, scoring a hat trick in each of his last six games and averaging 3.2 goals a game in BYUH's inaugural water polo season.
Kalabic will next show off his skills tonight, when his Seasiders match up with Chaminade.
The teams squared off Sept. 1, when Kalabic scored five goals and helped BYUH to its first win, 16-13.
Former basketball standout Paulasi Matavao has coached his Montana State-Billings volleyball team to a 7-3 record this year, splitting with the Seasiders last week. Matavao will return to Laie with his team in a PacWest contest Nov. 2.
Hawaii-Hilo:The Vulcans' cross country program stayed home rather than compete in the Brigham Young-Hawaii Invitational on Saturday but still found a way to keep busy.
Coach Jaime Guerpo oversaw a relief run to benefit the Red Cross, bringing in more than $1,200 from 200-plus participants. Michelle Tsang of Waiakea High School won the charity event.
It's early, but Vulcans setter Megan Denman is hanging with Hawaii Pacific setter Nia Tuitele in assists. Denman is averaging 12.11 per game for second in the conference behind leader Tuitele, who is averaging 12.44. Denman also leads the conference in service aces with 23 in 37 games.