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Saturday, January 10, 2004



[ WARRIOR VOLLEYBALL ]


art
RONEN ZILBERMAN / RZILBERMAN@STARBULLETIN.COM
Hawaii's Mauli'a LaBarre tried to hit past the block of Manitoba's Jeff Zylstra during last night's Outrigger Invitational match at the Stan Sheriff Center. The Warriors swept Canada's defending national champion to even their record in the tournament.


Warriors stomp
on Canada’s Bisons

Hawaii’s turnaround can be
traced to Beckwith’s growth


When Brian Beckwith started his high school volleyball career, he was listed at 5-foot-6. He has grown an amazing 12 inches since then.



HAWAII 3
MANITOBA 0

NEXT UP
vs. Lewis today


Within 24 hours, the growth of the Hawaii men's volleyball team has mirrored that of its freshman setter. The transformation between Thursday's losing performance against Penn State and last night's winning showing was nothing short of amazing.

The Warriors rebounded from a tough five-game loss Thursday to sweep Manitoba 30-19, 30-24, 30-17 last night in the second match of the 10th Outrigger Hotels Volleyball Invitational at the Stan Sheriff Center.

An announced turnstile crowd of 3,424 saw Hawaii (0-1, 1-1 OHVI) ride the near-flawless arm of sophomore opposite Pedro Azenha (19 kills, one error, .750) into tonight's 7:30 match with Lewis (1-1).

Azenha put down his first 11 swings and junior Delano Thomas added 10 kills against the defending Canadian university champion.

In last night's first match, the Flyers wore down Penn State 24-30, 30-27, 30-28, 30-22.

The final night of the round-robin tournament starts with today's 5 p.m. match between the Nittany Lions (1-1, 1-1) and the Bisons (0-0, 1-1). The tournament title will be decided via a tie-breaker system: first head-to-head, then game differential.

"The boys were comfortable on the floor tonight," said Hawaii coach Mike Wilton after what was considered an international exhibition match. "We had several guys trying too hard (Thursday). There was a lot of dissonance and we never got out of it.

"Pedro is capable of this kind of match every time out; he does it every day in practice. And Brian did a nice job, one more day into the job. Tonight he weathered any storm there was out there. And tomorrow will be another tough match. They (Lewis) have weapons and a great spirit and they can really play."

Manitoba coach Garth Pischke was more than impressed with how Hawaii played last night and disappointed in his team.

"We made 32 hitting errors and I don't recall us ever making that many," said Pischke, in his 23rd year. "It was a combination of that and Hawaii playing very well. And we certainly didn't expect (Azenha) to play that well.

"Hawaii touched a lot of balls and, maybe the stats say we out-dug them, but every time we got on a roll, they seemed to come up with a big dig. Overall, they out-served, out-blocked and out-played us at about every position."


art
RONEN ZILBERMAN / RZILBERMAN@STARBULLETIN.COM
Hawaii's Joshua Stanhiser hit past Manitoba's Mike Munday during last night's Outrigger Invitational match at the Stan Sheriff Center. UH swept to pick up its first win in the tourney.


Hawaii has never finished lower than second in this event but hasn't won either since 1999. The Warriors could pull it off tonight against the Flyers, and Lewis coach Dave Deuser is concerned.

"We've got to figure Hawaii out," said Deuser, 1-9 all-time against Hawaii. "They're so physical. But they are young and definitely in a rebuilding year. And when Delano (converted outside hitter Thomas) comes into his own at that position, he's going to be dominant.

"And Brian (Beckwith) ... I'm very impressed with him, he's got a great future. Everything worries me about them. They play with a lot of size. If their serving gets you out of system, then they will have a field day."

Last night, the Warriors teed off against the Bisons. Although Hawaii had just three aces, the Warriors' bullet serves gave Manitoba's passers all sorts of problems.

It started early, with the Warriors jumping out to a quick 4-0 lead, so quick that Bison coach Garth Pischke called a timeout in the first 60 seconds.

It never got much better, as Manitoba had no answer for Azenha nor the Warriors' switch in offense. On Thursday, Hawaii's middle attack was the early staple, with Josh Stanhiser putting down 10 of his career-high 13 kills in the first two games.

Last night, the Warriors went outside, with Azenha having the phenomenal success and Stanhiser keeping the Manitoba middle blockers honest (four kills on five attempts).

Beckwith's growth spurt on the court was impressive last night. He had Hawaii hitting .600 in Game 1 and .494 for the night; Beckwith had 38 assists and was in on three of the Warriors' 11 blocks.

"It felt a lot more relaxed out there tonight," said Beckwith. "Pedro has had a few practices like he played tonight and we were just waiting for him to bring it to the game. All in all we played a lot more relaxed, didn't dwell on our mistakes. (Thursday) was winnable. We got a lot of jitters out and we came into our own tonight."

Thomas' serving helped seal the victory, serving for five straight points to give Hawaii a 27-15. The only two points the Bisons scored the rest of the way came on Hawaii serving errors; the match ended on Murray Laidlaw's serve that hit the bottom of the net.

The Bisons hit .132 with Laidlaw putting down 18 kills.

"I felt more comfortable and the whole team made my job easier," said Azenha, six kills off from his career high. "We have great potential. We just need to play our best. The mood on the team today was better. We had to have fun, no matter what's going on."

Flyers 3, Nittany Lions 1: Penn State lived -- and died -- by its serve, committing 22 errors against Lewis. The Lions had four in a row to open Game 4, helping the Flyers to a 6-3 lead.

Some of Penn State's problems were due to the fatigue of Thursday's five-game win over Hawaii, the first time in nine matches the Lions defeated the Warriors.

A lot of it was Lewis senior opposite Fabiano Barretto, who sat out Thursday's loss to Manitoba. Barreto had 20 kills, hitting .385, to lead the Flyers.

"I was a little worried how Fabiano would react to (sophomore backup setter) Brandon Sisk," said Deuser. "He's not used to Brandon, and it was important that Fabiano carried the load."

Barreto got help from true freshman Jon Bergmann, playing in place of All-American senior Gustavo Meyer, who is sitting out during an NCAA eligibility investigation. Bergmann had 11 kills and was in on two of the Flyers' 11 blocks.

The Flyers again did not use senior setter J.R. Martins because of flu-like symptoms. Deuser isn't sure if he will use Martins tonight against Hawaii.

Penn State senior defensive specialist Rhonee Rojas wasn't sure how much time he'll get in against Lewis. The University Lab School graduate had several solid serving runs last night against the Flyers, but it wasn't enough.

"I try to do my best every time I get in," said Rojas. "And we're trying our best to make it back here to the final four (in May).

"We have tradition on our side and, even if the guys don't say it out loud, they know my goal is to finish my career at home, the place where it all started."

Keith Kowal led Penn State with 16 kills, while Matt Proper added 14 and Nate Meerstein 10.


Kahumoku, Duggins sign with Russian team

Two more Hawaii volleyball players will head east to play professional volleyball.

Lily Kahumoku and Lauren Duggins, who finished their Rainbow Wahine careers last month, have signed to play with Samorodok, the team from Khabarovsk, Russia, which played an exhibition series in the islands in 2002.

"I'm very excited," Kahumoku said yesterday while watching the Outrigger Hotels Volleyball Invitational men's tournament at the Stan Sheriff Center. "It is in the Russia Superior League and, if we are in the top five, we will be in the European Cup."

Although Kahumoku wouldn't say how much the contract in the Volleyball Federation of Russia was worth, a normal contract for the three-month season is estimated between $35,000 and $45,000. The contract expires April 1.

Kahumoku said she will be taking independent-study courses through the university and remain on track to graduate. She has been told that she will be playing the "3" (outside hitter) while Duggins will be a "4" (middle blocker).

The two join teammate Kim Willoughby in the pro ranks. Willoughby leaves today for Puerto Rico, where she will join the Criollas de Caguas, while Kahumoku and Duggins leave for Russia. Kahumoku and Duggins are the two foreign exemptions for the team.


Cindy Luis, Star-Bulletin


Hawaii def. Manitoba

30-19, 30-24, 30-17

BISONS

g k e att pct. bs ba d
Charriere 2 0 0 0 .000 0 0 0
Klassen 3 9 10 26 -.038 0 0 4
Froese 3 0 1 1 -1.000 0 0 1
Munday 3 1 2 4 -.250 1 2 7
Zylstra 3 3 2 6 .167 0 2 1
Masterson 3 0 0 0 .000 0 0 3
Heidebrecht 3 1 0 7 .143 0 1 1
van Lankvelt 3 8 7 20 .050 0 2 2
Laidlaw 3 18 10 34 .235 1 0 3
Guenette 2 0 0 0 .000 0 0 0
Totals 3 40 32 98 .082 2 7 22

WARRIORS

g k e att pct. bs ba d
Hutchins 1 0 0 0 .000 0 0 0
Delgado 3 4 2 13 .154 1 2 5
Jeschke 3 0 0 0 .000 0 0 0
Beckwith 3 2 0 5 .400 0 3 2
Reft 3 0 0 0 .000 0 0 5
Azenha 3 19 1 24 .750 0 4 0
Woodward 1 0 0 0 .000 0 0 0
LaBarre 3 6 2 12 .333 0 6 0
Thomas 3 10 2 18 .444 0 2 3
Stanhiser 3 4 0 5 .800 0 4 1
Totals 3 45 7 77 .494 1 21 16

Key -- g: games; k: kills; e: hitting errors; att: attempts; pct.: hitting percentage; bs: block solos; ba: block assists; d: digs.
Aces -- Bisons (2): Klassen, Munday. Hawaii (3): Thomas 2, Azenha. Assists -- Bisons (39): Munday 35, Klassen, Zylstra, Heidebrecht, van Lankvelt. Hawaii (41): Beckwith 38, LaBarre, Thomas, Stanhiser.
T -- 1:36. Officials -- Wayne Lee, Dan Hironaka. A -- 3,424.


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