C O L L E G E _ V O L L E Y B A L L



Hawaii's small-college
volleyball still
top-notch

Hawaii NAIA schools look to regroup
at the NCAA Division II level

By Cindy Luis
Star-Bulletin



What was once the most dominant NAIA volleyball conference in the country looks to regroup at the NCAA Division II level beginning this season.

NAIA schools Brigham Young-Hawaii and Hawaii Pacific start the move to join current Division II members Hawaii-Hilo and Chaminade in the Pacific West Conference via the first of two years of probation.

BYU-Hawaii and HPU will comply with NCAA regulations the next two seasons while still competing for the NAIA championship. The Seasiders are seeking their seventh NAIA title, and third in a row. The Sea Warriors are after their second.

Hawaii-Hilo hopes to find the same success at the Division II level as it enjoyed before leaving the NAIA in 1994. The Vulcans put Hawaii small-college volleyball on the map with six titles between 1979-84, and won their fifth of Hawaii's cumulative 12 NAIA championships in 1988.

Change is good. The only thing that won't change is the quality of Hawaii's small-college volleyball.

A look at the teams, with last year's record in parenthesis:



BYU-Hawaii (35-1)

The Seasiders are ranked 13th in the Volleyball magazine preseason poll. BYU-Hawaii coach Wilfred Navalta thinks it's his lucky number.

"It's a good incentive for us," said Navalta, who is beginning his 11th season. "What the (voting) coaches don't realize is that our substitutes last year were pretty close to our starters."

The Seasiders' main concern is replacing the leadership and setting abilities of NAIA Player of the Year Anik Valiengo, a four-time All-American.

Also gone is All-American blocker Ui Aalona and hitter Aletha Gomez.

But BYU-Hawaii has three starters back, including All-American blocker Becky Laubach, all-district hitter and team captain Daniela Carneiro, and senior blocker Carrie Crippen.

That nucleus is surrounded by a lot of talent, old and new. Back on the left is Ana Alves Ferreira, while on the right is Snezana Bosnjak, who had a solid freshman season before spending most of last year in a backup role.

Junior setter Rachel Nihipali will run the team. Navalta is very high on his recruits, particularly 6-foot-1 freshman blocker, Arlete Silva from Brazil.

August - 30: at Hawaiian Style Classic (Hawaii-Hilo, BYU-Hawaii, Hawaii Pacific, Chaminade, Humboldt State, Dowling College, Alabama State, Colorado-Colorado State), TBA, Afook-Chinen Civic. 31: at Hawaiian Style Classic.

September - 6-7: at Premier Challenge (BYU-Hawaii, Ferris State, North Dakota State, Northern Colorado, Regis), Denver. 13-14: at Northern Michigan Invitational (BYU-Hawaii, Barry, Northern Michigan, Lake Superior State, Western Oregon State), Marquette, Mich. 20: xy-at Hawaii Pacific. 26: y-at Chaminade. 27: y-Chaminade.

October - 4-5: y-Hawaii-Hilo. 11-12: y-at Hawaii-Hilo. 18: xy-Hawaii Pacific. 25: xy-at Hawaii Pacific. 26: y-Chaminade. 31: y-Chaminade.

November - 2: Nittaidai, Japan (exhibition). 5-7: at NAIA Far West playoffs, TBA.

December - 4-7: at NAIA Championship, San Diego.

x-NAIA District 29 match.
y-Hawaii Intercollegiate Athletic Conference match.
All home games 7:30 p.m., Cannon Activities Center.



Hawaii Pacific (14-11)

Nothing is impossible to Tita Ahuna, the setter for the University of Hawaii Wahine's last national championship team.

Nine years later, Ahuna is again running a team, this time as head coach. She has the Sea Warriors off and running with a solid recruiting class to complement two returning starters.

The biggest recruiting coup was landing former BYUH All-American Lei Finau Kaisa, the MVP of the 1992 NAIA Championship Tournament. Also in an HPU uniform is senior setter Twaila Yamashita, a transfer from Fort Lewis College and sister of Wahine defensive specialist Nalani Yamashita.

The Sea Warriors will be tall, with four players 5-10 or over. Anchoring the middle is former University High standout Dawn Penebacker, a 6-2 freshman; 6-1 returning starter Gracanne Keohohou, and 5-10 Blen Nakihei, a transfer from junior college power Eastern Arizona.

HPU returns two players from American Samoa, hitter Doreen Fiaui and sophomore hitter Joan Lilio. Sophomore Gigi Rocha from Brazil and Colombian Vanessa Victoria, a freshman, add solid international experience.

The Sea Warriors also have a new home: Castle Gym on the campus of St. Andrews Priory.

August - 30: at Hawaiian Style Classic (Hawaii-Hilo, BYU-Hawaii, Hawaii Pacific, Chaminade, Humboldt State, Dowling College, Alabama State, Colorado-Colorado State), Afook-Chinen Civic. 31: at Hawaiian Style Classic.

September - 1: at Hawaiian Style Classic. 2: at Hawaiian Style Classic. 13-14: y-Chaminade. 20: xy-BYU-Hawaii. 27-28: y-Hawaii-Hilo.

October - 4-5: at Western Oregon State Invitational (Caroll, Central Washington, Hawaii Pacific, Lewis-Clark State, Northwest Nazarene, Point Loma Nazarene, Puget Sound, Simon Frasier, Western Oregon State, Western Washington, Washington University), Monmouth, Ore. 10-11: y-at Chaminade. 18: xy-at BYU-Hawaii. 25: xy-BYU-Hawaii

November - 1-2: y-at Hawaii-Hilo. 3: Nittaidai, Japan (exhibition). 5-7: at NAIA Far West Playoffs, TBA.

December - 4-7: at NAIA National Tournament, TBA.

x-NAIA District 29 match.
y-Hawaii Intercollegiate Athletic Conference match.
All home games 7:30 p.m., St. Andrews Priory gym.



Hawaii-Hilo (26-7)

Youth is all relative to Sharon Peterson, who is starting her 19th season with the Vulcans. Despite returning just one starter from last year's regional finalist, Peterson is optimistic about this year's team.

"We know we have some big shoes to fill," said Peterson, who lost all but four players from last season.

"Our players are very coachable and we have good team chemistry. I'm very optimistic we can put together something by the end of the season."

The Vulcans, ranked seventh in the preseason poll, return sophomore starter April Jacobson, a 5-11 hitter, and the top reserve, 5-9 sophomore Lindsay Jones.

Also back are blockers Aitofi Tautuaa and Kaleihoku Nath-aniel, the latter who led the Vulcans in hitting at .439.

Expected to give immediate help are two Division I sophomore transfers: Loyola Marymount's Heather Wride, a 5-8 setter, and 5-10 Heather Campbell from Fresno State. Transferring from PacWest rival Alaska-Anchorage is junior hitter Kalau Smith.

"Our theme is, 'Stop thinking and jump,'" said Peterson. "Sometimes a young team tends to think too much. I want them to go out and just play."

August - 30: Hawaiian Style Classic (Hawaii-Hilo, BYU-Hawaii, Hawaii Pacific, Chaminade, Humboldt State, Dowling College, Alabama State, Colorado-Colorado State), TBA, Afook-Chinen Civic. 31: Hawaiian Style Classic.

September - 1-2: Hawaiian Style Classic. 14: Alumnae. 20-21: x-Seattle Pacific. 27-28: y-at Hawaii Pacific.

October - 3: xy-at Chaminade. 4-5: y-at BYU-Hawaii. 11-12: y-BYU-Hawaii. 20-21: x-at Montana State-Billings. 23-24: x-at Alaska-Anchorage. 26-27: x-at Alaska-Fairbanks.

November - 1-2: y-Hawaii Pacific. 8-9: x-Western New Mexico. 15-16: xy-Chaminade. 22-25: NCAA Division II Regional, TBA.

December - 7-9: NCAA Division II Championship, TBA.

All home games 7:15 p.m., UHH Gym, unless noted otherwise.
x-Pacific West Conference match.
y-Hawaii Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.



Chaminade (6-18)

Coach Glennie Adams has never sounded more positive about the Silverswords. The third-year coach has 15 players who can contribute, leading her to believe that Chaminade will finish in the top half of the PacWest.

"We've got some new energy and quality players," said Adams.

Back after a medical redshirt season is Danielle Robins, who will return to her natural position at hitter after a season at setter. Handling the setting duties is a Kamehameha product, freshman Karlen Porter.

Another Kamehameha graduate, freshman Boo Arnold, is expected to start at middle blocker along with senior returnee Kim Clissold.

BYU-Hawaii transfer Doris Bikar at opposite, and hitters Hinano Warfield and Uila Fotu round out the starting six. Adams also has been impressed with walk-on freshman Nichole Wilson.

Chaminade is the only Hawaii school without a national title.

"We're not there yet but we're making a real positive move upward," said Adams."

August - 30: at Hawaiian Style Classic (Hawaii-Hilo, BYU-Hawaii, Hawaii Pacific, Chaminade, Humboldt State, Dowling College, Alabama State, Colorado-Colorado State), Afook-Chinen Civic. 31: Hawaiian Style Classic.

September - 1-2: at Hawaiian Style Classic. 13-14: y-at Hawaii Pacific. 17-18: x-Seattle Pacific. 26: y-BYU-Hawaii. 27: y-at BYU-Hawaii.

October - 3: xy-at Hawaii-Hilo. 10-11: y-Hawaii Pacific. 14-15: x-at Montana State-Billings. 17-18: x-at Alaska Anchorage. 19-20: x-at Alaska Fairbanks. 26: y-at BYU-Hawaii. 31: y-BYU-Hawaii.

November - 6: Nittaidai, Japan (exhibition). 11-12: x-Western New Mexico. 15-16: xy-at Hawaii-Hilo. 22-25: NCAA Division II Regional, TBA.

December - 7-9: NCAA Division II Championship, TBA.

All home games 7:30 p.m. McCabe Gym.
x-Pacific West Conference match.
y-Hawaii Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.




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