RAINBOW WARRIOR VOLLEYBALL
Hawaii-USC showdown is a Loyola High reunion
Homecoming for Loyola High School changes both zip and area codes this week, with the Cubs' reunion moving from Los Angeles to the Stan Sheriff Center.
On the volleyball court tomorrow and Friday are four Loyola alumni: Hawaii senior setter Brian Beckwith and junior hitter Jake Schkud, and USC junior setter Jimmy Killian and sophomore opposite C.J. Schellenberg. Heck, Beckwith and Schellenberg even carpooled together from their homes in Pacific Palisades to their downtown L.A. school.
The four had a part in Loyola (20-0) winning the 2003 California Interscholastic Federation championship as well as the mythical national title bestowed by Volleyball magazine.
Who: No. 14 USC (3-8, 2-6) at No. 12 Hawaii (2-8, 2-6)
When: Tomorrow and Friday, 7 p.m.
Where: Stan Sheriff Center
TV: Live, KFVE
Radio: Live, 1420-AM
Series: UH leads, 31-27
This week, they again share a common goal: putting their respective teams into the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation playoff picture. They share ninth place; the top eight teams make the playoffs.
No. 12 Hawaii (2-8, 2-6) is also looking to avoid a seventh straight loss while the 14th-ranked Trojans look to end a three-match slide.
"Desperation? No, but I am anxious and ready to win," Beckwith said. "I thought we'd do it last week, but we came up short (twice to UC Santa Barbara). But you can't ask for more when the team is giving their whole effort, playing their hardest. USC is a tough team and they've gotten better from last year."
"I think it's more of a personal game for me and Brian against those guys," Schkud said. "They want to win. We want to win. We're both struggling. We both need to make a run."
The matches also reunite Beckwith, Schkud and freshman middle Matt Rawson with their former club coach at Palisades. Bill Ferguson is in his first year as head coach of the Trojans after two stints as an assistant.
"We know Hawaii will be good," Ferguson said. "We're worried about ourselves, the serving and passing. When we serve and pass well, we win. When we don't, we're very beatable."
Case in point: The Trojans swept UCLA at Pauley Pavilion two matches after losing to perennial MPSF bottom-dweller UC San Diego.
"They are capable of playing really good volleyball ... but so are we," Warriors coach Mike Wilton said. "These are huge matches for them and for us."
The teams are similar in personnel. Good setters, solid in the middles and at the outsides.
"Personally, I'm looking forward to this week, to seeing Brian against Jimmy," Ferguson said. "Brian is one of the best I've ever coached. He is real talented and I'm very proud of him. I'm hoping Jimmy will be able to match him (with an All-American honor)."
Ferguson is also high on his backup libero, freshman Troy Tokuhama (Iolani '06). Already signing with the Trojans is setter Riley McKibbin, who graduates this spring.
Notes: Hawaii dropped three spots to 12th in yesterday's CSTV/AVCA Top 15.