Wednesday, February 10, 1999
Coaches: GMU's Fred Chao (1st, 4-0) vs. UH's Mike Wilton (7th, 124-54)
George Mason Patriots
Season: GMU 4-0 overall, 2-0 EIVA. No. 5 UH 5-2, 3-1 MPSF.
Top players: Guy Billauer (6-5 Sr. MB) 3.87 kpg; Andre Melo (6-3 So. OH) 3.20 kpg, 10 aces; Scott Smith (6-5 Jr. MB), 1.53 bpg; Chris Prince (6-4 Sr. OH) 1.21 bpg; Kriss Eglitis (6-5 Sr. S) 13.36 apg.
Patriots outlook: George Mason has regrouped after the drowning death of head coach Uvaldo Acosta last season in Hawaii and the Patriots are off to one of their best starts ever under new head coach Chao . . . After fairly easy wins over EIVA foes South Hampton, St. Francis and Eastern Mennonite, Mason upset Rutgers-Newark last Saturday, 3-2, winning Game 5, 15-11. The Patriots had five players in double-kill figures, led by Billauer's 16. Melo, Prince and junior opposite Gary Moore all had 15 kills. Smith hit .500 with seven blocks . . . It was the Patriots' second straight win over the Scarlet Raiders. Last season, Mason also won 3-2 in the EIVA Tournament semifinals . . . The Patriots finished the year at 10-12.
Rainbow update: Junior all-American blocker Andre Breuer is still slowed by a sprained right ankle, which has hampered his lateral movement. But even without him, the Rainbows are still imposing at the net with 6-9 opposite Clay Stanley, 6-7 swing Torry Tukuafu and 6-7 middle Dejan Miladinovic . . . The Rainbows have the overall advantage in height -- the Patriots average 6-4 to Hawaii's 6-6 -- but "the jury is still out on our passing and setting situations," said Wilton. Chris Kosty and Jorge Alifonso will share the primary passing duties this week as Wilton looks for a permanent starter. Setter Mason Kuo has struggled the past few matches but Wilton is committed to his senior . . . The Rainbows' defense has been spotty, brilliant in some matches, suspect in others . . . With Breuer at half-speed, both Stanley and Tukuafu have established themselves as all-league candidates. The two sophomores are now looking for more consistency.
End quote: "We are not that big and Hawaii's size and power are our concerns,'' said Chao. "I don't care what system you're running. It's hard to be successful if you don't match up."
First serve: 7 p.m. today and Friday, Stan Sheriff Center.
On the tube: Both nights on KFVE (Channel 5). Replay, 10:30 p.m.
In memoriam: The one-year anniversary of Acosta's death is Friday. Donations can be sent to his memorial fund: GMU, 4400 University drive. MS 3A5. Fairfax, VA. 22030.