Loss doesn’t ruin trip to snow town
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. » What do volleyball coaches do when getting together off the court?
When in Honolulu, it was golf. When there were snow flurries, it was dinner.
That's what was on the agenda when Hawaii's Dave Shoji and Penn State's Russ Rose met, first in September (golfing at Oahu Country Club) and here this week (dining at The Tavern instead of playing one of the two PSU courses).
With temperatures dropping into the 20s and snow on the ground, "Russ said dinner was the best he could do," said Shoji, who plays to a 5 handicap. "This is my first trip here and I don't know why I haven't come before.
"We walked around town. People recognized him, said, 'Hello, Coach.' It was nice."
It was also the first trip to Penn State for the Rainbow Wahine. In the 32 years of the program -- 31 under Shoji -- Hawaii has now been to 28 mainland states.
Snow joke: Eight inches of snow fell overnight, with yesterday's game-time temperature 25 degrees. The wind-chill factor dropped it to 9 degrees.
Weather wreaked havoc with travel plans for parents of the Wahine. Many were stuck in various airports, delaying their arrivals by at least a day.
John and Susan Boogaard (Susie) flew from California to Pittsburgh, then drove 3 hours, while Debbie and Kim Gregory (Kari) flew from Las Vegas to Baltimore, then drove 3 hours. Linda Heffner (Tara Hittle) was stranded in Chicago after flying in from Denver but connected with Jackie and Cal Thurlby (Cayley) for a 13-hour drive from Chicago.
Experiencing weather-related delays and mechanical problems with airplanes were Brenda Prince (Victoria), Nancy and Tom Arnott (Alicia) and Deb Keefe (Jessica), but they all made the match in time. Dal Kamana'o (Kanoe) was stranded in Chicago and arrived from Washington, D.C., right after Game 1 started yesterday.
Also making the trip were Janice and Eric Watanabe (Ashley) and James Houston (Jamie).
Unexpected day off:
Juliana Sanders of Hawaii put a kill over Lisa Boyd of Missouri yesterday during Game 2. Sanders had 11 kills.
Shoji had been expecting to be preparing his team for today's regional final, but Missouri changed all that. With some free time on his hands, Shoji -- very much a fan of sports in general -- is considering a visit to Penn State's Beaver Stadium. The stadium seats 107,282, second in the country only to Michigan Stadium (107,501).
Also on the agenda is a trip to PSU's All-Sports Museum, which houses memorabilia, photographs and other artifacts that highlight the school's 130-year history of athletics. Among the mementos is a football from the first win over Ohio State in 1912, a game won by the Nittany Lions 1-0 after the Buckeyes walked off the field in Columbus with some 8 minutes to go when behind 37-0.
That's entertainment: Eric Watanabe was talked into jamming with a jazz trio playing at the team hotel Thursday night. The lead guitarist for his family's band "Now You Know" performed several songs and -- after a phone call to her room -- was joined by daughter Ashley on guitar for one song.
All-hands team: All four setters in this regional may be reunited at next week's All-America banquet in San Antonio.
Hawaii's Kamana'o, Lindsey Hunter from Missouri, Tennessee's Julie Knytych and Sam Tortorello of Penn State all earned all-region honors earlier this week, the final step of the All-American process. Kamana'o and Tortorello were first-team selections last year, Hunter was on the second team, and Knytych on the third team.
All except for Tortorello are the career assist leaders at their respective schools. Tortorello is No. 2.
VIV, Part IV: Rec Hall will again be the site for the men's NCAA volleyball championship May 4 and 6 with "Volley In the Valley IV." This is the fourth time PSU will host, the others coming in 1982, 1986 and 2002.
Hawaii won the 2002 title by defeating Pepperdine. The Warriors' first -- and only -- national team championship was later vacated when the NCAA declared All-American Costas Theocharidis ineligible for having played professionally.
Penn State, the first non-California team to win the title (1994), will compete in the Outrigger Hotels Invitational at the Stan Sheriff Center on Jan 18-20. Also in the field are UCLA, Ohio State and host Hawaii.