RAINBOW WARRIOR VOLLEYBALL
Winning would cure what ails Warriors
There is a simple remedy for what is ailing the Hawaii men's volleyball team, something that goes beyond getting rid of the flu-like symptoms that plagued the Warriors last week.
"What we need this week is to play well as a team," junior middle Kyle Klinger said. "We need to win some games so we can feel like winners.
NO. 11 PACIFIC AT NO. 5 HAWAII
When: 7 p.m. tomorrow and Friday
TV: Live, KFVE (Ch. 5)
Radio: Live, KKEA 1420-AM
Series: Hawaii leads, 28-1
"We played well together in the fall. We played like a good team. We just need to get that back."
Klinger is one of the players who has not completely recovered from whatever hit the Warriors last week. Again missing practice yesterday was senior All-American Lauri Hakala, who said he was waiting on a test result to rule out mononucleosis.
Hakala was expected back for this week's Mountain Pacific Sports Federation matches with No. 11 Pacific, and possibly back at opposite hitter. He played on the left in last week's two losses at top-ranked UC Irvine as well being one of the primary passers.
Regardless of the lineup on their side of the court, the Warriors (0-2, 0-2 MPSF) expect to see a tough Tiger team on the opposite side of the net. Pacific (2-3, 1-1), which has defeated Hawaii just once in 29 meetings, lost in five to UC Santa Barbara and swept Cal State Northridge last week in matches played 19 hours apart.
The loss to the Gauchos came Friday night after the Tigers held a 2-0 lead. The win over the Matadors came in an afternoon match Saturday.
"Actually, it was good to play early the next day," UOP coach Joe Wortmann said. "Although the loss was disappointing and a bitter pill to swallow, we played very well with sustained focus and effort. Playing right away gave us the chance to continue our focus and move on.
"Both matches were played about the same. Either team could have won almost every game. Against Northridge. we had players make the 'big play' at the right time at the end of the games."
That was something the Warriors were unable to do against the Anteaters last week. But despite opening the year 0-2 for just the second time in school history, Hawaii has returned to the practice gym knowing the season is far from over.
"We played the No. 1 team and that put things into perspective for us," Warriors senior middle Dio Dante said. "They're a really good team and we know what the top-ranked team is like. I feel like we could have been better prepared for them. Hopefully, we'll see them again this season and I want revenge.
"We've had good practices this week and are thinking more about ourselves right now, thinking about what we need to do on our side of the court. As I said before, we're a new team and have work to do."
And no excuses to make.
"I saw a change in attitude this week," Klinger said. "We have no excuses why we shouldn't play well, no reason to struggle.
"I don't think the league in general is as strong overall. We'll see some teams who haven't been as strong have breakout years."
One of those is Pacific, which did not qualify for the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation tournament after finishing 10th.
The Tigers are led by senior hitter Matt Cornell (4.42 kpg) and junior hitter Pekka Seppanen (4.11 kpg). Running the UOP offense is senior Garrett Morales, who spent most of last season at libero.
Hawaii's offense will be run by senior All-American Brian Beckwith, who is fourth on the school list for assists. With 3,366, he trails Kimo Tuyay (4,591), Curt Vaughan (4,557) and Albert Hannemann (4,195).
"We saw a lot of positive things last week," UH assistant coach Jason Salmeri said. "We have the talent, we have the athletes. Our problem is finding the chemistry."
Notes: Hawaii leads Pacific 15-0 in matches played in Honolulu and 13-1 in matches played in Stockton, Calif. The Warriors' lone loss came in five on April 5, 1997. UH has won the last 19. ... Last Friday's defeat at UCI snapped Hawaii's MPSF regular-season winning streak at 17, a run that started with a victory at Pepperdine last Feb. 10. ... Hawaii has never opened the season 0-3. The only other time the Warriors opened 0-2 was in 1987 when losing twice to Stanford. ... Redshirting for UOP this season is freshman Scot Kane (Kamehameha '06).