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Sunday, April 11, 2004



[ WARRIOR VOLLEYBALL ]


art
RICHARD WALKER / RWALKER@STARBULLETIN.COM
Hawaii seniors Ryan Woodward and Kimo Tuyay danced with Marissa Bonilla during Senior Night festivities last night.


Anteaters spoil UH’s
Senior Night

UC Irvine loses the first
two games, but rallies to
stun the Warriors in five


No one does Senior Night better.

Win or lose, Hawaii teams have always celebrated and been celebrated when saying aloha to four-year players. Leis, leis, leis ... and just when it seems there might be no flowers left on Oahu, more leis.

And where else would two uncles fly in from San Diego, dress up in ti leaf skirts, and outdo Vili the Warrior in a pre-match hula?

Only at the Stan Sheriff Center. And only for Hawaii volleyball.

A crowd of 4,695 enjoyed pre- and postmatch entertainment but was subdued by the gut-wrenching loss by the Warriors. No. 6 Hawaii was stunned by No. 10 UC Irvine 18-30, 23-30, 30-27, 30-26, 15-13.

Hawaii fell to 12-8 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation, 16-10 overall in its final regular-season home match.

The Warriors send the Anteaters home at 12-19 and 6-14, with renewed hopes of making the playoffs. It was UC Irvine's first win at Hawaii. The Anteaters trail in the overall series 23-3.

"It was a big win for us," said Anteater coach John Speraw. "Serving's been a big deal for us, and we finally started hitting them. Maybe we finally got used to the big arena.

"We finally started blocking some balls and defensively tied it together. We're still alive in the playoffs, and this helps."

And this one hurts for Hawaii

"I thought we ran out of gas in Game 3," said UH coach Mike Wilton. "Then the wheels came off in Game 4. They made a few more plays than we did at the end, is what it boils down. But we have some more volleyball left."

The Warriors know they are in the playoffs and, after last night's loss, likely will be on the road on April 24. Hawaii finishes at Pepperdine next week.

But that's next week.

Last night was all about getting the party started. Despite the Anteaters crashing it, Senior Night was still special.

Dressed in lava lavas, the five UH seniors performed along with a Tahitian dancer.

The Warriors were in better rhythm to start the match.

Senior setter Kimo Tuyay tied a season high with four kills, hitting 1.000, and made some improbable saves that set up kills by Matt Bender and Pedro Azenha. Bender's rocket serve hit the net but the tape was kind, with the ball landing on the Anteaters' side for the Game 1-ending ace.

It was a night on which UCI could hit .600 (10 kills, 1 error, 15 swings) and still be trailing 24-19, as happened in Game 2.

And it was a night on which the sophomores again led the way -- Azenha had 23 kills and three aces, Bender 18 kills -- but the seniors were the stars of the show.

That included UCI senior All-American Jimmy Pelzel, who put down four of his 20 kills at the end of Game 3 to help push the match to four.

"Why do we always have to make things interesting?" UH senior Jake Muise asked when the teams changed sides heading into Game 4.

Interesting it was. It was also reminiscent of the five-game collapse against Long Beach State a week earlier, a match in which Hawaii won the first two games.

The Anteaters committed 12 service errors in the first two games but only two each in Games 3 and 4. UCI also got its block going, coming up with 5.5 in Game 4.

But the serving mistakes came back to haunt the Anteaters in Game 5, as they gave up four points on errors. Still, UCI was able to hold off Hawaii and, at 12-12, outscored the Warriors 3-1 for the win.

As for the Warrior seniors:

» Josh Stanhiser had no hitting errors until late in the match, finishing with nine kills in 16 swings and had one solo and six block assists;

» Arri Jeschke had two kills and an assist;

» Ryan Woodward had one kill and was in on four blocks;

» Muise served for several key points;

» and Tuyay continued to close in on the school assist record. He now has 4,481 to trail Curt Vaughn by 77. "It was tough that we lost. It happens like this too many times," Tuyay said. "It's tough because we should have won."

All of the seniors had at least one parent attending the celebration. Muise's traveled to Hawaii for the first time from Canada.

"This was awesome," said Muise's father, Christopher. "They really do it up well. They really appreciate the players."

The Anteaters remained for the ceremony, applauding the UH seniors. UCI seniors Pelzel, BJ Fell and Spencer Bemus were also recognized.

Only in Hawaii would that happen.


MPSF standings

Conference Overall
W L Pct. W L
xy-BYU 18 2 .900 22 4
x-Long Beach State 18 4 .818 25 5
x-UCLA 15 5 .750 21 4
x-CSU Northridge 13 7 .650 19 8
x-Pepperdine 13 7 .650 17 9
x-Hawaii 12 8 .600 16 10
x-UC Santa Barbara 9 12 .429 15 13
Stanford 6 14 .300 9 16
UC Irvine 6 14 .300 12 17
Pacific 4 16 .200 8 19
USC 4 16 .200 6 21
UC San Diego 4 17 .190 8 19

x-clinched playoff berth
y-clinched regular-season title

Last night's results
UC Irvine def. Hawaii, 3-2
Stanford def. USC, 3-2
Long Beach State def. UC Santa Barbara, 3-1
Pepperdine def. Pacific, 3-0
CSU Northridge def. UC San Diego, 3-1

UC-Irvine def. Hawaii

18-30, 23-30, 30-27, 30-26, 15-13

Anteaters (12-17, 6-14 mpsf)

g k e att pct. bs ba d
Bemus 3 6 2 11 .364 0 0 3
Pelzel 5 20 6 33 .424 1 6 4
Fitch 1 0 0 0 .000 0 0 0
Ford 5 0 0 0 .000 0 0 5
Reid 5 0 0 0 .000 0 4 4
Spittle 3 2 1 5 .200 0 0 0
Jablonsky 5 19 9 41 .244 0 3 2
Fell 2 2 1 8 .125 0 0 3
Webber 1 2 4 8 -.250 0 1 1
Smith 5 4 5 15 -.067 1 6 1
Weichert 5 9 2 17 .412 1 4 1
Totals 5 64 30 138 .246 3 24 24

Warriors (16-10, 12-8 mpsf)

g k e att pct. bs ba d
Tuyay 5 4 0 5 .800 0 0 9
Muise 3 0 0 0 .000 0 0 1
Jeschke 3 2 2 4 .000 0 0 0
Reft 5 0 0 0 .000 0 0 9
Azenha 5 23 9 39 .359 0 3 6
Bender 5 18 8 34 .294 1 6 6
Woodward 5 1 3 11 -.182 0 4 1
LaBarre 5 5 3 10 .200 0 7 3
Thomas 1 4 4 9 .000 0 0 0
Stanhiser 5 9 2 16 .438 1 6 1
Totals 5 66 31 128 .273 2 26 36

Key -- g: games; k: kills; e: hitting errors; att: attempts; pct.: hitting percentage; bs: block solos; ba: block assists; d: digs.
Aces -- UCI (4): Pelzel 2, Reid, Spittle. Hawaii (6): Azenha 3, Bender, Thomas, Stanhiser.
Assists -- UCI (59): Reid 54, Smith 2, Bemus, Fitch, Weichert. Hawaii (60): Tuyay 52, Bender 3, Reft 2, Jeschke, Azenha, Woodward.
T -- 2:31. Officials -- Wayne Lee, Dickson Chun. A -- 4,695.

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