RAINBOW WARRIOR VOLLEYBALL
UH's Hakala out; assistant coach Salmeri moves on
Coach Mike Wilton says he will not announce the starting lineup until after tomorrow's practice
It wasn't enough to call it "Black Monday."
Yesterday was more like "Gray Monday" for the Hawaii men's volleyball team.
Not only did the ninth-ranked Warriors lose the services of senior All-American Lauri Hakala for at least the next few days with an abdominal strain, they've lost assistant coach Jason Salmeri for good.
Salmeri, a former Warrior who joined the coaching staff last season, was leaving this evening to join the New Jersey state trooper program. He initially applied for the program in January 2005 and only now received his acceptance.
"It's a life decision that I couldn't pass up," said Salmeri, who played for UH in 1997 and '98. "It's a tough decision because I'd like to see this group of guys get older and better. But if you look at it that way, there's always new players coming in, another group you want to help get better, and you'll never leave.
"I'm going to miss Coach (Mike Wilton), Tino (associate coach Reyes), Hawaii and all my friends here. But I know any chance I get to come back for a vacation, I'll take it."
Salmeri, an all-conference selection his senior season, was working with the Warriors' blockers.
He had played middle most of his career, before moving over to opposite as a senior.
Salmeri has long been interested in law enforcement and had this opportunity not arisen, he was planning on attaining a master's degree from UH in criminology. Moving back East won't be a difficult transition; Salmeri was born in Connecticut and grew up in Virginia.
As for Hakala, the co-captain missed yesterday's practice and Wilton said there was a chance that his senior hitter might return for tomorrow's practice.
The Warriors (2-6, 2-4), who remained ninth in yesterday's coaches poll, host No. 4 UC Santa Barbara (8-3, 6-2) in Mountain Pacific Sports Federation matches Thursday and Friday at the Stan Sheriff Center.
Hakala said yesterday that he was in some pain and that he was told by a physician to rest, returning when he felt he could.
Hakala had been starting on the left side after playing opposite last year and is second on the team in kills (3.61 kpg), digs (1.93 dpg) and aces (four).
Wilton said he would not make a decision on the lineup until after tomorrow's practice. Hakala is the only Warrior to have played in all 28 games.
Notes: Brigham Young remained No. 1 in this week's poll, but it was not unanimous. The Cougars (9-1), who lost to former No. 1 UC Irvine on Saturday, earned 11 of the 16 first-place votes. No. 2 UC Irvine (11-2) picked up three votes, and No. 3 Pepperdine (7-1) had the other two votes. ... Stanford freshman setter Kawika Shoji (Iolani '06) ranks ninth in the MPSF in aces with seven. The Cardinal (1-11, 1-6) earned their first victory last Saturday, outlasting UC San Diego in five.