RAINBOW WARRIOR VOLLEYBALL
Volleyball men to hit the floor for exhibition matches
What you see from the Hawaii men's volleyball team tomorrow and Friday at the Stan Sheriff Center will not be what you get when the season opens two months from now.
The Warriors have been hit by the injury bug, with three potential starters expected to miss the four exhibition matches against Long Beach State. Without senior middle Dio Dante, senior hitter Eric Kalima and freshman libero Cory Enriques, Hawaii will not resemble the team that won the Thunderball Tournament last month in British Columbia.
LONG BEACH STATE AT HAWAII
When: Tomorrow and Friday, 4 & 7 p.m.
Where: Stan Sheriff Center
However, it will give a number of the Warriors a chance at playing time, including true freshman libero Ric Cervantes, the leading candidate to fill the void left by the graduation of All-American libero Alfred Reft. Hawaii also lost four other starters to graduation, giving a number of redshirt freshmen swings at earning a permanent spot on the court.
"We're a pretty good defensive team right now," Warrior coach Mike Wilton said. "And we're getting better offensively.
"It's going to be good to play a good team and Long Beach State is always good. They're not unlike us in that they lost a lot of players to graduation and they also have guys in place who have been in their system."
And, like Hawaii, Long Beach State saw last season ended by eventual NCAA champion UCLA.
The Bruins knocked out the Warriors in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation quarterfinal and then downed the 49ers in the MPSF championship match.
Long Beach State coach Alan Knipe, newly inducted into The Beach's Wall of Honor, lost three starters from the 23-10 squad, including All-American setter Tyler Hildebrand.
The 49ers used two setters in two wins over USC last Saturday -- freshman Connor Eaton and junior Adam Schlesinger.
The Warriors will alternate two setters, senior Brian Beckwith and sophomore Sean Carney. Wilton said he will use one in each of the daily matches, with whoever starts at 4 p.m. tomorrow starting at 7 p.m. Friday.
Hawaii's two healthy middles, junior Kyle Klinger and freshman Matthew Rawson, are expected to play all four matches. Junior Jake Schkud has been converted from a middle to an outside hitter.
Senior Lauri Hakala is ensconced at opposite. He and Kalima have been selected as captains.
Long Beach State has two Hawaii connections on this year's roster.
Freshman hitter Tommy Pestolesi is the son of two former UH All-Americans, Tom Pestolesi and Diane Sebastian Pestolesi; and freshman libero Kory Matsukado played three seasons at Kamehameha before moving to San Diego for his senior season.