Shoji's grand time put on hold


POSTED: Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Matt Sonnichsen unexpectedly got his wish.

A few weeks ago, when the Louisiana Tech volleyball coach realized his match at Hawaii could result in Dave Shoji's 1,000th career victory, Sonnichsen had a plan.

“;Maybe I can get (New Mexico State coach) Mike Jordan to switch dates,”; Sonnichsen said, knowing that NMSU was the Rainbow Wahine's next opponent after his Lady Techsters. “;I think it would mean more for Dave's 1,000th to come against New Mexico State. Besides, I think I was his 800th victory, when I was coaching at Tulsa.”;

Sonnichsen was wrong about Shoji's 800th —that came against Utah in 2002 — but he may be right about the milestone coming against New Mexico State, which lost to New Mexico last night.

Because of inclement weather, Louisiana Tech was unable to travel to Hawaii yesterday in time to play tonight. The match with the Lady Techsters is rescheduled for Monday at 7:05 p.m. at the Sheriff Center.

Shoji's first shot at becoming the second Division I women's volleyball coach to reach 1,000 wins will be Saturday's contest against Jordan and New Mexico State at the Stan Sheriff Center. The Wahine (15-2, 6-0 Western Athletic Conference) defeated the Aggies (10-6, 5-1) in Las Cruces on Oct. 3.

Does it make a difference to Shoji? He admits there is more on the line since New Mexico State is in second place in the WAC and did sweep Hawaii during the regular season last year in Honolulu.

“;The game against New Mexico State is tough enough without adding that you might celebrate something,”; he said. “;We just want to win the game. The team knows what's riding on it.

“;It's not that there's extra pressure but there are other distractions. We do have another day to prepare for New Mexico State and that's probably a good thing. No, there is no cake on Saturday.”;

Shoji was referring to the cake that had been brought to Klum Gym in 1992 in anticipation of his 500th victory. The Wahine were upset by Brigham Young-Hawaii, a loss that likely kept Hawaii out of the postseason for the first and only time.

Fans who purchased tickets for tonight's match have several options. Tickets can be exchanged for Saturday's match or a future match this season; used for Monday's match against Louisiana Tech; or be returned for a refund.

If a refund or exchange is desired, it must be done at the Sheriff Center box office. If the ticket will be used for Monday, nothing needs to be done.