Shoji wins national award


POSTED: Friday, December 18, 2009

TAMPA, Fla. » Hawaii coach Dave Shoji will be setting off the airport metal detectors if he decides to carry on all the hardware he collected at yesterday's jostens Coaches Honors Luncheon at the Tampa Convention Center Ballroom.

Shoji picked up awards for his 1,000th victory, regional coach of the year and—the big one—national coach of the year. It was the second time he earned the top honor, first since 1982, and Shoji brought along the award from 27 years ago ... a volleyball that's been in his office.

“;I hope it's not another ball,”; he said before receiving a glass-etched trophy. “;The AVCA ... called the CVCA then ... was one year old in 1982.

“;Our sport has become a national sport since then. There is no West Coast team in the final four. Turning a profit can be done. And if you need any help, give me a call.”;

There was one snub. In the luncheon program, it failed to list Shoji among the “;AVCA Victory Club Awards”; for reaching 1,000. UCLA's Andy Banachowski received his award for 1,100 wins this season.


Yogi not satisfied

Texas defensive specialist Sydney Yogi, a Punahou product, didn't play particularly well in the back row, but contributed three digs, two assists and a service ace in Texas' sweep of Minnesota in the first semifinal.

She did serve effectively at some key points in the second and third sets.

“;Well I wanted to get some points on the board, and I figured that we had to go into it with the mentality that serving is your first option to get a point,”; the sophomore from Hawaii Kai said. “;I think I struggled a little bit with my passing tonight and I thought if I can't pass then I'm going to have to serve really well.”;

She said the Longhorns grew as a team by beating Hawaii in September at the Stan Sheriff Center, preparing them for the stress of the final four.

“;Maturity is a big part,”; she said. “;From the very start of our preseason tournament in Hawaii, where we played in front of a huge crowd and just getting that feeling and confidence.”;


Ferguson wins men's award

When he gave his acceptance speech, USC's Bill Ferguson, the NCAA D-I men's coach of the year, said he was torn between becoming the tallest surfer or the shortest volleyball player. He said the highlight of his youth volleyball career was winning the MVP award at a summer camp over Hawaii associate coach Mike Sealy.


Final four in Hawaii?

Cecile Reynaud, co-emcee and AVCA board of directors member, had one request as Shoji left the stage.

“;Put in a bid to host the final four,”; Reynaud said.

Hawaii last hosted the national championship in 1999, the year Penn State won its first title. At that time, the AVCA had advocated the final four be alternated between Honolulu and Omaha, Neb.

It is the NCAA that decides the host institutions for postseason competition. Hawaii has not hosted a regional since 2006 or a subregional since 2003.


Rare set loss for PSU

When Hawaii took Set 1 off Penn State last night, it was only sixth frame the Nittany Lions had dropped all season. It was also only the third time PSU dropped an opening set, and the only one that didn't go to extra points. The other losses were 31-29 at Purdue and 26-24 at Michigan.


Perfect timing

Hawaii senior Stephanie Brandt was at the service line in last night's first set against Penn State, with the Wahine leading 15-13 at the technical timeout. During the break, the Jumbotron featured Brandt as the NCAA Elite 88 academic winner for women's volleyball. She has a 3.86 GPA in psychology.


Texas fight

The victory by Texas over Minnesota put the Longhorns back in the title match for the third time, and first since losing to Nebraska in 1995. In its first trip in 1988, Texas defeated Hawaii 15-4, 16-14, 15-13 in the first championship match that did not feature at least one team from California.

Star-Bulletin writers Cindy Luis and Dave Reardon contributed to this story.