RAINBOW WARRIOR VOLLEYBALL
No rest for Hawaii on this road trip
On an island where shave ice is the closest thing to snow, the Winter Olympics have left some members of the Hawaii men's volleyball team cold.
Other Warriors, however, have been glued to TVs and computers to keep up with certain sports as they root for their respective homelands.
Who: No. 4 Hawaii (7-4, 5-3 MPSF) at No. 5 CSU Northridge (8-5, 4-4)
When: Friday, 4 p.m. Hawaii time and Saturday, 9 a.m. Hawaii time
Radio: Live, KKEA (1420-AM)
Series: Hawaii leads 35-12
Curling? Senior opposite Matt Bender of Arizona has become hooked, thanks to insights provided by senior hitter Matt Carere, a Canadian who has played the sport.
The two were on opposite sides of a virtual rink today when Canada met the U.S. in a men's semifinal.
"There's a lot of strategy and teamwork involved," Bender said.
The same can be said of the Warriors' preparation this week for a grueling road trip that has them playing four matches in five days. It opens with No. 4 Hawaii at No. 5 Cal State Northridge for two matches starting just 17 hours apart: Friday's contest is at 6 p.m. Pacific time and Saturday's is at 11 a.m.
The scheduling quirk is to accommodate FSNW2's telecast of the Northridge-Pacific men's basketball game at 3 p.m. The CSUN administration turned down the request to have the volleyball match played after basketball.
Hawaii then takes on vastly improved USC, ranked 13th, Monday and Tuesday.
"It's a tough schedule and we have to do our very, very best to take care of our bodies," Warrior junior setter Brian Beckwith said. "It's a part of the season that not many other teams have to see, with the flying and the back-to-back games.
"A lot of it will be mental. I'm just hoping that Friday doesn't go long and that we have time to rest up for Saturday. If we can keep the same intensity and enthusiasm that we had against Long Beach last week, we'll be fun to watch."
Bender again watched from the bench last week as the Warriors took a pair of Mountain Pacific Sports Federation matches off the 49ers last week. The senior has yet to play this season, sidelined with an ankle injury suffered the first week of practice in January.
"What I saw was a really good team," said Bender, who may play against the Matadors. "It was exciting, some of the funnest matches I've ever watched. And watching my good friends play that well was just awesome."
Senior hitter Jose Delgado played so well that he was named the MPSF's player of the week, the first time a Warrior has been honored this season. Delgado had 39 kills and hit .333 with 14 digs and six blocks in the two victories.
Junior Lauri Hakala, who has replaced Bender as a starter, also played well against The Beach. He had 31 kills and hit .472 with 12 digs and nine blocks.
Of all the Warriors, perhaps Hakala has been the most attentive when it comes to the Olympics. The Finnish national is a big hockey fan, and his team was undefeated going into today's quarterfinal against the U.S.