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Saturday, February 1, 2003


[ UH VOLLEYBALL ]



UH



Warriors hand
Anteaters first loss


By Star-Bulletin Staff

In the early season showdown pitting the top two teams in the nation, second-ranked Hawaii ended top-ranked UC Irvine's 10-match win streak yesterday.

The Warriors (6-1, 2-1 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation) rebounded from last week's loss to Stanford and started their first road trip of the season off on the right foot by beating the Anteaters 30-18, 24-30, 30-18, 30-26. There are no unbeaten teams left after the first month of the collegiate men's volleyball season.

"I thought in Games 1 and 3 and key parts of Game 4, we took very good care of the ball," Warriors coach Mike Wilton said. "We passed and we served in and tough.

"I liked the composure with the exception of a hiccup in Game 2. I liked the team performance. It was just a team game."

Not surprisingly, senior Costas Theocharidis brought big game to the big match. Theocharidis hit .357 and thumped 20 kills to go along with two aces, eight digs and five blocks.

The Warriors welcomed back team captain Eyal Zimet to the lineup. Zimet missed a week of action with lower back spasms. The senior stayed in the entire match and hit .500 with five kills.

Hawaii's other wounded Warrior didn't seem hurt at all. Sophomore Delano Thomas sprained his right thumb a week ago against Stanford. The middle blocker was fitted for a brace and didn't seem bothered by his hand in hammering 17 kills, serving two aces and dropping in on seven of Hawaii's 10.5 blocks.

Freshman Pedro Azenha came off the bench again to spark Hawaii in Game 2. Azenha replaced senior Tony Ching who struggled through two games before re-entering the match late in Game 4.

The Anteaters tried different personnel too but got mixed results. UCI (10-1, 3-1 MPSF) was hit with a healthy dose of reality three days after assuming the program's first No. 1 ranking. The Anteaters pride themselves on a diverse offense but were a one-man show yesterday.

Opposite Jimmy Pelzel led UCI with 24 kills but no other hitter reached double-digit kills. Freshman middle blocker Nic Vislay hit .429 with eight kills.

Being in the larger Bren Events Center didn't help UCI much either. A crowd of 3,235 watched the Anteaters lose for the first time this season. The teams move back to tiny Crawford Hall for the 3 p.m. rematch today.

"It was a great atmosphere," Wilton said. "It was wonderful. The fans were young. They were really into it."

The fans didn't have much to cheer about. Game 1 was only close in the opening moments. Hawaii led 7-4 and increased its lead to 13-7 before forcing UC Irvine coach John Speraw to burn his second and final timeout of the game.

Hawaii didn't sit on its lead as freshman Matt Bender put the finishing touches on the game with an ace during a three-point serving run. Bender's ace gave Hawaii a 28-16 lead. Thomas finished the game off with two kills.

UH learned how good Pelzel was in Game 2. Pelzel shook off a slow start and blasted eight kills as the Anteaters nabbed the early lead and held on even when the Warriors closed to within one at 15-14. UCI regained control after a 7-2 run to pull away from Hawaii.

"He's a nice hitter. He hit a lot of sets," Wilton said. "He's the kind of guy that you need to switch things up on him. You can't keep blocking the same thing on him."

The Warriors were simply unbeatable in Game 3. Hawaii found its serving and hitting groove early and hit a whopping .789 to overwhelm UCI. The Warriors put away 16 balls in 19 swings with just one error.

Game 4 went back and forth with no team holding more than a three-point lead. Hawaii came from behind in the final stretch to pull out the win. The Warriors blocked Pelzel and Thomas put away an overpass for a 27-25 lead they wouldn't relinquish.

Hawaii def. UC Irvine

30-18, 24-30, 30-18, 30-26

ANTEATERS (10-1, 3-1 MPSF)


g k e att pct. bs ba d

Bemus 4 7 8 20 -.050 0 2 2

Pelzel 4 24 7 43 .395 0 0 7

Vislay 4 8 2 14 .429 0 2 2

Kniffin 4 1 0 2 .500 0 5 1

Tucker 4 5 3 20 .100 0 2 8

Weichart 3 5 3 12 .167 0 3 0

Jensen 1 1 1 3 .000 0 0 0

Ford 4 0 0 0 .000 0 0 6

Gemise-Fareau 1 0 0 0 .000 0 0 0

Marchewka 1 2 1 4 .250 0 2 0

Totals 4 53 25 118 .237 0 16 26

Warriors (6-1, 2-1 MPSF)


g k e att pct. bs ba d

Tuyay 4 4 1 6 .500 0 2 3

Zimet 4 5 1 8 .500 0 1 6

Theocharidis 4 20 5 42 .357 0 6 8

Ching 3 5 3 12 .167 0 1 3

Thomas 4 17 1 27 .593 0 7 2

Stanhiser 4 8 4 15 .267 0 3 2

Motter 4 0 0 0 .000 0 0 5

Azenha 3 6 3 10 .300 0 1 2

Bender 4 0 0 0 .000 0 0 1

Totals 4 65 18 120 .392 0 21 32

Key -- g: games; k: kills; e: hitting errors; att: attempts; pct.: hitting percentage; bs: block solos; ba: block assists; d: digs.

Aces -- UC Irvine (3): Pelzel, Vislay, Weichert. Hawaii (6): Theocharidis 2, Thomas 2, Tuyay, Bender. Assists -- UC Irvine (52): Kniffin 50, Bemus, Tucker. Hawaii (57): Tuyay 52, Motter 2, Zimet, Ching, Thomas.

T -- 1:47. Officials -- Ken Taylor, Bob Oshita. Attendance -- 3,235.



UH Athletics



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