Warriors break from MPSF pressure vs. N.J. Tech


POSTED: Thursday, March 19, 2009

The geographic extremes of men's volleyball meet tomorrow night sharing a common goal: find a way to win.

Both No. 13 Hawaii and New Jersey Tech have struggled to do that this season. The Warriors (4-13) have lost seven of eight and the Highlanders (3-14) 13 in a row, including nine of the last 10 in straight sets.






        New Jersey Tech (3-14) at No. 13 Hawaii (4-13), 7 p.m. tomorrow and Saturday, TV: KFVE, Ch. 5; Radio: KKEA, 1420-AM

While a victory, or two, would do wonders for the collective psyches of either team, Hawaii hopes being able to knock off New Jersey Tech would be a sign that things have turned around.

“;It would be a big confidence booster,”; said junior Steven Grgas, who likely moves back from opposite to middle for this week. “;We need this. We need something to get our confidence going.

“;It's not an easy road for us coming up. If we can build the confidence, it would mean a lot.”;

The Warriors are still holding out hope that they'll make the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation playoffs. They're currently in 10th in the 12-team league, with tournament berths going to the top eight.

“;We have to win seven of eight, probably,”; freshman middle Jarrod Lofy said. “;I really do believe that, as long as we get these two from New Jersey, we can refocus and go back out and win.

“;Ninety percent of volleyball is in your head. If you play focused, have fun, you'll win. I'm hoping New Jersey will help us refocus and move on.”;

The Warriors' lineup is still not settled. Moving Grgas back to middle and sophomore Brennon Dyer to opposite had some success last Saturday, but not even a career-high 19 kills by both Dyer and Sean Carney were enough to beat San Diego in five.

“;I don't think we'll ever be deflated,”; Dyer said. “;For some reason, I feel that we're the team everyone wants to beat. I like having that extra motivation.

“;We need to come out with more energy. Like Saturday. We played well in the third and fourth (sets) and then it was like, 'Yay, we're here' when it went to five instead of keep pushing.”;

New Jersey Tech hasn't been able to push through during this spring break trip, with 0-3 losses at Hope International, USC and Cal State Northridge. Charles Bell (Kahuku '06) had a team-high nine kills in Tuesday's 30-14, 30-21, 30-28 loss to the Matadors.

Bell, a junior hitter, leads the team in kill average (3.73 kps). The Highlanders have an international roster with players from Trinidad, St. Lucia, Brazil and Denmark.

“;We don't know much about them, other than they haven't had much success lately,”; Hawaii coach Mike Wilton said. “;This is a good chance for us to work on some things and hopefully build for the rest of the season.

“;I don't think it's smart to think that we're out of the playoffs. It is daunting. We probably have to win seven of eight at the minimum, and even then we could end up tied with someone who has the tiebreaker on us. We need to take care of business on our side.”;