Keeping Score

By Cindy Luis

Monday, January 19, 1998

Wahine dynasty at home in Circle of Honor

TIME flies when you're in good company.

Saturday night, amidst good company, it felt as though time had stood still.

The members of the 1981 and '82 Wahine volleyball teams were finally inducted into the University of Hawaii's Circle of Honor. The teams went 67-3, winning two consecutive NCAA championships, a feat duplicated only three times since (Pacific, '85-86; UCLA, '90-91; and Stanford, '96-97).

For many of those players, it was their first time back to Hawaii since the '83 banner was raised in Klum Gym. Seeing the Stan Sheriff Center was "overwhelming," said Debbi Black, a freshman on the senior-laden '83 team. "It's wonderful."

"It's still a little unreal," said Kris Pulaski, a graphics specialist in Concord, Calif. "I'm honored about the honor, but I'm more excited about seeing everyone."

Few athletes can match the success Pulaski and her twin sister, Kori, had during their four-year stay ('80-83) at UH. Along with Deitre Collins, Sista Palakiko, Marcie Wurts and Missy Yomes, the Wahine went 138-15 with three trips to the final four.

The only year Hawaii didn't make it to the final match during that era was '81, when the top-ranked Wahine were upset by Southern Cal in the regional final.

"That (loss) was probably due to a bad coaching job by me," said Hawaii coach Dave Shoji, who recently completed his 23rd season. "The majority of these girls . . . ladies . . . women were part of one of the most dominating teams, obviously for UH, but also in NCAA history. As freshmen, they got to the ('80) national semifinals and were No. 1 all of 1981.

"It was an impressive four-year run for the majority of them. Eventually, you knew that they (the Circle of Honor voters) had to get to them."

IT was Collins' second induction. Now the UNLV volleyball coach, she was selected as an individual in '89. She was a three-time All-American and won the Broderick Cup as the nation's top female college athlete. She is the only volleyball player to win the award.

Also inducted for the second time were assistant coach Dean Nowack, Candy Kane, Nahaku Brown and Diane Sebastian. Nowack and Kane were part of the '79 championship team that was inducted in '90. Brown played in '79 and was the graduate assistant in '82. Sebastian also played in '79 and was the graduate assistant in '83.

Brown and Sebastian and Pam Lawrence are among an elite few who have won national championships as a player and a coach. A freshman reserve with the Wahine in '83, Lawrence was an assistant for Long Beach State when the 49ers won it all in '93.

"There's only a handful who can say you've won as a player and a coach," said Lawrence, who is married to former Wahine assistant Charlie Brand. "It's pretty neat."

They will be back in April when Charlie brings his UC Irvine men's team to play the Rainbows.

VOLLEYBALL wasn't the only sport in which Sue Hlavenka won a championship. The middle blocker was on three winning Na Wahine O Ke Kai Molokai race crews during the late '80s, paddling for the Offshore Canoe Club.

"This is the first time I've seen the arena," said Hlavenka, who lives in her native Canada. "It would have been fun to have played in here. I'm happy for all the people who can now come and enjoy Wahine volleyball.

"But Klum Gym had its charm. It's part of what we did."

What they did was win. The Wahine did it with wonderful players - starters and reserves. It's fitting their time has come.

Cindy Luis is a Star-Bulletin sportswriter.
Her column appears weekly.

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