Tulsa not on
Homestand, quest to improveBy Cindy Luis
are two things that drive Wahine
down the stretch
Control what you can. Forget about what you can't control.
That's how the University of Hawaii women's volleyball team is approaching this week's home matches with Western Athletic Conference underdogs Rice and Tulsa. Midway through the season, the 17th-ranked Wahine are looking to improve, regardless of the opponent.
"We go into every match with the same attitude," Hawaii hitter Heidi Ilustre said. "We need to go out hard and work on being fired up for every game. With only two weekends to play at home, that's motivation enough to play well.
"We want to continue to build up our confidence."
Last week, despite traveling 9,000 miles, Hawaii won three times in three days to run its winning streak to seven. Its 40-match conference winning streak shouldn't be in danger against the Owls and Golden Hurricane, who are a combined 1-9 in the WAC.
"With these kind of matches, it becomes more of self-motivation for our players," Hawaii coach Dave Shoji said. "There are different agendas for our players. Some of them are playing for later in the year, seeing how much they can contribute. Some of them are playing for next year, finding out what they need to do to get better.
"I think everyone is pretty hungry and anxious to play well at home. It's our next-to-last homestand and I think everyone will realize this week that we don't have many more games at home.
"And when there are 6,000-7,000 people in the stands, you tend to get fired up."
After this week, the Wahine play eight of their last 10 regular-season matches on the road. The only other home matches before the NCAA playoffs are TCU on Nov. 6 and SMU Nov. 8.
Hawaii won't bid to host an NCAA regional, an event it hosted the past two seasons. The four-team regional goes to the highest seed still alive in the NCAA Tournament as of the Sweet 16. The Wahine are fifth in their region behind Long Beach State, UC Santa Barbara, Brigham Young and Pacific.
Rice and Tulsa won't likely qualify for the postseason. Only the top six teams from the two WAC divisions advance to the conference tournament in Las Vegas Thanksgiving week and the Owls and Golden Hurricane are at the bottom of the eight-team Pacific Division.
Rice has three starters back from last year, when it lost to the Wahine in the WAC quarterfinals. The Owls have lost five of their last six. Their only WAC victory was in straight sets against Tulsa.
Tulsa is at San Diego State tomorrow.
First-place votes in parentheses
AVCA/USA Top 25
W L Pts Prv 1. Penn St. (60) 17 0 1,520 1 2. Long Beach 14 1 1,430 2 3. Florida 17 1 1,369 3 4. Stanford 16 2 1,341 4 5. Southern Cal 13 2 1,226 6 6. Brigham Young 14 4 1,179 7 7. UC Santa Barbara 16 2 1,098 9 8. Wisconsin 14 2 1,043 10 9. Nebraska 13 4 962 5 10. Washington St. 17 2 922 8 11. Texas 11 3 893 13 12. Texas A&M 13 3 803 14 13. Pacific 11 4 791 12 14. Pepperdine 14 1 749 11 15. Arizona 12 4 693 15 16. Hawaii 13 5 562 17 17. Maryland 15 0 517 18 18. Colorado St. 15 3 396 20 19. Colorado 9 4 387 22 20. Loyola Marymount 13 4 370 16 21. Washington 10 6 301 24 22. UCLA 9 5 282 21 23. San Diego 15 2 183 -- 24. Arkansas 14 5 147 23 25. Michigan St, 13 6 145 19Other top teams receiving points: Michigan, 45; Minnesota, 38; So. Carolina, 15; Illinois, 13; Ohio St., 10; Oklahoma, 7; Central Florida, 6.
Wahine volleyballRice vs. Hawaii: Tomorrow at 7 p.m.
Tulsa vs. Hawaii: Saturday at 7 p.m.
Where: Special Events Arena.
TV: KFVE (Channel 5), live.
Radio KCCN (1420-AM), live.
1997 UH Wahine Volleyball Schedule
One is for the conference. The other is for confidence.
Seasiders seek homeBy Cindy Luis
court for playoffs
Brigham Young University-Hawaii can clinch hosting duties for the NAIA Far West Hawaii playoff with a victory tonight over Hawaii Pacific University at St. Andrew's Priory Gym. Friday, the top-ranked and undefeated Seasiders (18-0) could earn even more respect with a win over NCAA Division I Rice.
BYU-Hawaii coach Wilfred Navalta's motto has always been simple: "One game at a time." It's not a cliche when it works, as it has for the past 18 matches this season and last 13 meetings with Hawaii Pacific.
The Sea Warriors have not beaten the Seasiders since Oct. 26, 1994. BYU-Hawaii swept HPU earlier this season, 15-1, 15-5, 15-0, one of 16 straight-set wins the Seasiders have recorded in 18 matches.
Both of Hawaii's NAIA teams were idle last week, making it easy on the pollsters to leave the Seasiders right where they were: on top. BYU-Hawaii, 54-2 in games, received all nine first-place votes.
The voters weren't as kind to HPU. The Sea Warriors slipped to No. 24.
PERFECTION TOUGH: And then there were two.
Top-ranked Penn State (17-0) and No. 17 Maryland (15-0) are the only undefeated teams left in the USA Today/AVCA Coaches Top 25 poll. No. 14 Pepperdine (14-1) lost its perfect season -- as well as three spots in the rankings -- when upset by the University of San Diego last week.
San Diego had quite a week, toppling Pepperdine and Loyola Marymount in West Coast Conference matches. The Toreras (15-2) debuted in the rankings yesterday at No. 23.
The top four spots remained the same: Penn State, Long Beach State, Florida and Stanford. Two of the biggest drops were felt by Nebraska, which went from No. 5 to No. 9 following two consecutive Big 12 losses last week, and Michigan State, which went from 19th to 25th after Big 10 defeats to unranked Michigan and Minnesota.
Hawaii moved up a spot to 16th with three road victories.
MILESTONE FOR WISE: Florida coach Mary Wise earned her 300th career victory Sunday as the third-ranked Gators swept Mississippi State in an SEC match. The victory also stretched Florida's string of consecutive SEC victories to 42; the league record is 49, held by the Gators.
STAYING ON TOP: Four Chaminade players and one from Hawaii-Hilo are leaders in their respective categories, according to the latest Pacific West Conference statistics for all matches.
The Silverswords' Marci Fieber leads in hitting percentage (.289), Karlen Parter in assist average (9.79), Danielle Robins in ace average (.60) and Doris Bikar in dig average (3.63). Meliah Hai-Kelly of the Vulcans is the block-assist leader (1.30 bpg) while her teammate, Heather Campbell, is second (1.20 bpg).
The only category without a Hawaii player on top is in kill average. Diane Vergo of Montana State-Billings is the leader (5.43 kpg) followed by Chaminade's Biker (3.65) and Hawaii-Hilo's Ginelle Palau (3.54).