[ WARRIOR VOLLEYBALL ]
Beckwith, Klosterman square off,
with Hawaii's newcomer
They carry the balls and are victims of most of the ribbing from their teammates. Freshmen frequently don't have a role on the team as they adjust to the pace of Division I volleyball.
Most don't see the court in the first year, but that wasn't the case yesterday in a midseason showdown between No. 1 Hawaii and No. 2 UCLA at the Stan Sheriff Center.
On rosters loaded with upperclassmen, Hawaii setter Brian Beckwith and UCLA opposite Steven Klosterman started for their respective teams, though only one was on the floor at the end of an epic 3-2 Hawaii win.
Beckwith and Klosterman were the prize recruits of the 2003 class. They were teammates on the U.S. junior national team and were highly coveted. Both were wanted by Hawaii but expected to go to UCLA.
Beckwith, who grew up in Pacific Palisades, Calif., and whose mom works at UCLA, surprised most with his choice, especially with three-year starter Kimo Tuyay back for Hawaii. Of the Warriors' five freshmen, only Beckwith sees significant playing time, starting all of Hawaii's matches this season.
Klosterman was the only rookie to make the 12-person travel roster for UCLA, where freshmen are usually redshirted and tucked behind the infamous blue curtain to play back-row triples.
Neither stated their case that effectively for national Freshman of the Year honors, but both are definitely candidates.
Beckwith leads the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation in assists with 14.92 per game and has Hawaii hitting .348 as a team in league matches. He isolated Hawaii's outside hitters early and his fast-dropping float serve caused problems for the Bruins. Beckwith nearly rallied the Warriors from the service line in Game 1, as his serve led to four straight points for the Warriors after UCLA led 26-20.
In Game 2, Beckwith's serving helped Hawaii tie the game at 8-8 after Hawaii dropped into a 5-1 hole. The Warriors evened the match at 1-1 on a Delano Thomas kill that Beckwith dished beautifully from his knees. But his frustration was obvious as he chased down errant passes and wasn't able to run Hawaii's offense to his satisfaction as yesterday's match dragged on.
"I could've played better. My teammates were picking up the slack," said Beckwith, who dished 60 assists and helped the Warriors outhit UCLA .326 to .292.
Hawaii coach Mike Wilton was pleased with the play of his freshman.
"Brian played well. We really struggled tonight and that's understandable. He struggled early when our passing wasn't the greatest," Wilton said. "He set the quicks mighty low a few times and that kind of spooked our confidence to run the middle.
"But he was fine. He got into it. Because there was so much tension, it was hard for a setter not to be affected."
Klosterman, who ranks seventh in kills per game in the MPSF, leads UCLA in hitting. But the 6-foot-7 freshman opposite was bothered by Hawaii's block and didn't come close to getting the 4.60 kills a game that he normally averages. Klosterman was on the bench in the later part of Game 2. He finished with six kills, two digs and two blocks.
"I've seen him play through the years," Beckwith said. "It's not that he didn't have a good game."
Senior Marcin Jagoda replaced Klosterman and hit .308 with 13 kills to keep UCLA coach Al Scates from bringing the freshman back. As for who plays tomorrow, Scates isn't sure.
"I don't know. One of them will be there," he said.