Star-Bulletin Sports

Tuesday, February 23, 1999

R A I N B O W _ V O L L E Y B A L L

’Bows learn
from BYU loss

The UH men's volleyball
team will take that knowledge
and use it against San
Diego State

By Cindy Luis


A loss isn't a total loss unless one loses the lesson as well.

The Hawaii men's volleyball team hopes the defeat last week to top-ranked Brigham Young was a valuable learning tool. After getting schooled by No. 3 Long Beach State in straight sets last Wednesday, the seventh-ranked Rainbows found focus and fire despite falling to the Cougars on Friday, 3-1.

"We were just horrible at Long Beach but were very competitive with BYU," said Hawaii coach Mike Wilton. "Even though we lost (to BYU), I liked what I saw.

"I told our guys we need to use the effort against BYU as a wonderful springboard for the rest of the year. If we continue to make that kind of effort, our ability to play will increase exponentially."

The key to hanging with the Cougars was passing, an area in which the Rainbows have had trouble. The revolving door has finally stopped, with 6-foot junior Russell Lockwood apparently finding a starting home as the primary passer.

"We have got the hitters who can stick it, but they aren't worth anything when we have trouble with the first (passing) and second contacts (setting)," Wilton said. "I also think that Mason (senior setter Kuo) had his best match of the year at BYU, finally looked at home.

"And Russell ... he's not the world's greatest athlete, but he's skilled, focused and usually doesn't make the same mistake twice. He needs to be out on the court because he gives us something, chemistry-wise, that we've been sadly lacking."

Hawaii has the luxury of experimenting this week when it hosts San Diego State tomorrow and Friday. The struggling Aztecs dropped their first five matches before ending the skid last week against Mountain Pacific Sports Federation bottom-dweller UC San Diego in four games.

Wilton's laboratory work also includes trying to get 6-9 sophomore Clay Stanley back in the lineup. Stanley missed the start at BYU because of disciplinary action and remained on the bench when 6-4 sophomore Brenton Davis lit up the Marriott Center with a career-high 34 kills.

Stanley is being looked at in three positions (swing, opposite and middle) and "he's huge in our plans," said Wilton.

The Sheriff Center may seem quieter than usual to the Rainbows. At BYU, Hawaii played in front of an announced crowd of 14,156, which shattered the NCAA attendance record of 10,225, which was held by UH.

"It was one of the best experiences I've ever had in volleyball," said Wilton. "I'm sure there were more (fans) in there, maybe 18,000, all students having a fun time.


MPSF Volleyball

Bullet When: Tomorrow and Friday: San Diego State (1-5, 1-5) at No. 7 Hawaii (7-4, 3-3), 7 p.m.
Bullet Where: Stan Sheriff Center.
Bullet On the Air: Live on KFVE TV (Channel 5) both nights. No radio.
Bullet Tickets: $5-$10.

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