H A W A I I _ S P O R T S


Thursday, April 1, 1999

R A I N B O W _ F O O T B A L L

Low power rating
hurt Notre Dame game

Hawaii can't hold Notre Dame to its 2001 obligation because the two teams didn't have a signed contract.

When the original deal was done by former UH athletic director Stan Sheriff nearly a decade ago, the contract called for two games with an option for a third.

Hawaii had a letter that Notre Dame intended to play the Rainbows here in 2001, but the Fighting Irish opted not to sign a contract in part because of Hawaii's low power ratings.

In 1998, the Rainbows were ranked last nationally among the Division I teams, according to the computer used in the Bowl Championship Series.

"I think that showed up last year with a couple of those late-season games involving Kansas State," UH head coach June Jones said after yesterday's practice. "I don't know how it will shake out, but we're going to need to improve if we're going to play top-ranked teams that late in the season. There's a lot at stake."

Notre Dame officials didn't want to take a chance of ruining an opportunity to be in the Bowl Championship Series. Kansas State's weak schedule hurt its chances last year of being in the title game.

"And I think that's going to cause the top programs to take a second look at scheduling," Jones said. "It could create a division of the haves and the have-nots. Hopefully, we'll be better by then and teams will want to play us."

Polk going both ways

James Polk has spent the past few months playing on the baseball team, but has been cleared to take part in spring football as well.

The Forth Worth, Texas, product, who started three games last year at left corner, was moved to slotback this spring by Jones.

Teammates call him Deion Sanders because he wants to play baseball and football at the same time.

"The baseball coaches came and talked to me, and they advised me to take part in spring ball to show the coaches what I can do," Polk said. "Pretty much what I do is I hit when I have free time.

"And when we don't have football practice, I go to baseball practice. I love doing both. We're winning over there and I know we're going to win in football next year."

Polk has appeared in seven baseball games this season. The outfielder has one hit in three at-bats for a .333 average. Last year, the junior finished with 21 tackles. He had one pass breakup and one fumble recovery.

Shrout to punt

Senior kicker Chad Shrout will be a punter only, Jones confirmed after practice.

"We want him to concentrate only on punting and see if he can get back to where he was a couple of years ago," Jones said. "The place-kicking will be handled by Eric Hannum or Jake Huggins."

Huggins is a walk-on from Washington State, who asked Jones if he could play this season.

"I'm sitting here watching him out my window hitting 60-yard field goals, heck yeah he can come," Jones said. "He wasn't enrolled in college last year, so he can play right away. I like him because he has that certain spark in his eyes."

Hannum can't take part in spring drills because of a shoulder separation. Those two will likely battle for the starting job in fall camp.

"I'm happy to be here," Huggins said after yesterday's practice. "I'm just glad they're giving me an opportunity to kick."

Shrout hit several good punts during yesterday's practice. He was named honorable mention All-American after his sophomore season. That year, he finished fifth in the nation, averaging 46.19 yards a punt.

But last year that average slipped to 38.7. He also hit 10 of 15 PATs and 7 of 15 field goals.

"He just needs to work on getting his confidence back," Jones said.

Na Koa golf tourney set

The annual Na Koa Football Club golf tournament is set for April 27 at Hickam Air Force Base.

The cost is $125 a person or $375 for a team of three. As of now, 38 teams have signed up for the event that is being underwritten by Hawaiian Airlines. Na Koa's goal is to have 60 teams.

For more information, contact Ben Yee at 734-6194 or 956-4513.

By Paul Arnett, Star-Bulletin

R A I N B O W _ B A S K E T B A L L

Rainbow Playbook

vs. UCLA Bruins
and UC-Irvine Anteaters

Bullet Coaches-UCLA: Al Scates (37th season, 962-153). UCI: Charlie Brande (2nd season, 20-23). UH: Mike Wilton (7th season, 134-58).

Bullet Season-UCLA: 16-6 (10-5 MPSF). UCI: 11-8 (8-6 MPSF). UH: 15-6 (8-5 MPSF).

Bullet Ranking-UCLA: No. 5. UCI: No. 13. UH: No. 7.

Bullet Series: Hawaii trails the series against UCLA, 8-33, and has beaten the Bruins on their home floor only once, on Feb. 25, 1983. UCLA dealt the Rainbows their first loss of the season in the Outrigger Hotels Invitational at the Stan Sheriff Center Jan. 22. Hawaii has never lost to UC Irvine and leads the series 16-0.

Bullet Top players-UCLA: Adam Naeve (6-10 Jr. MB) 4.36 kpg, 1.79 bpg; Evan Thatcher (6-7 Jr. OH) 4.16 kpg; Danny Farmer (6-4 Sr. MB) .94 bpg; Brandon Taliaferro (6-5 Jr. S) 0.52 SApg; 16.43 Apg. UCI: Donnie Rafter (6-0 Sr. OH) 5.43 kpg; Mike Rupp (6-5 Sr. OH) 5.01 kpg, 27 aces; Josh Richardson (6-4 Jr. MB) 1.32 bpg; Cory Hinkle (6-2 Jr. S) 16.59 apg, 23 aces.

Bullet About the Bruins: UCLA is enjoying a five game winning streak but has not played in two weeks. All-American setter Brandon Taliaferro may sit out against the Rainbows with a stomach ailment. UCLA leads the conference in team service ace average (1.82) and dig average (12.09). UCLA is 6-3 at home.

Bullet About the Anteaters: UC Irvine has already tied its school record for most league wins in a season with six, and are battling for its first MPSF tournament berth. The Anteaters have won seven of their last nine contests and are on a two game winning streak. Donnie Rafter is second in the conference in dig average with 2.49, and the Anteaters trail only UCLA in service ace average with 1.72. The Anteaters are 4-4 at home after being swept by Loyola-Chicago Mar. 12.

Bullet About the Rainbows: Andre Breuer tied Pono Maa for No. 10 in career block solos and Dejan Miladinovic needs two block assists to move into fifth in that category, and needs one service ace to tie Aaron Wilton at 10th with 50. Mason Kuo can move into fifth in career assists. He needs 29 to tie John Ribarich at 2,030. The Rainbows have struggled to a 1-5 road record and have lost four in a row away from home. Miladinovic leads the conference in blocking average with 1.87. Breuer's career high in kills came against UCLA in a Feb. 3 loss last year when he knocked down 34.

Bullet First serve: Friday and Saturday at 5 p.m. HST.

Bullet On the air: Both matches will be aired live on KCCN radio (1420 AM).

R A I N B O W _ B A S E B A L L


Rainbow Playbook

vs. Nevada-Las Vegas Rebels

Bullet Coaches: UNLV, Rod Soesbe (3rd season, 71-75). UH, Les Murakami (29th season, 1,036-533-4).

Bullet Season: UNLV, 16-20 overall (5-4 WAC). UH, 22-11 (4-8).

Bullet Probable starting pitchers: UNLV, right-hander Bryan Gidge (5-2, 5.67); right-hander Andy McCulloch (2-4, 5.07); right-hander Joe Maruffi (3-0, 6.39). UH, left-hander Jamie Aloy (6-4, 3.70); right-hander Rich Snider (2-3, 3.73); left-hander Troy Yoshimasu (5-0, 3.62).

Bullet Top players: Outfielder Ryan Ludwick (leads WAC in runs scored, 47, RBIs, 47, walks, 32, second in on base percentage, .530, third in hits, 57, and fourth in batting, .426); third baseman Chris Gillette (.417, 13-game hitting streak); outfielder Chris Adolph (.387, second in WAC with 57 hits); catcher Ryan Hamill (.356, 36 RBIs).

Bullet Interesting facts: UNLV head coach Ron Soesbe is not with the Rebels. Soesbe was suspended for one week after a confrontation in which he restrained and verbally reprimanded two players while UNLV was in Houston to play Rice last weekend ... Assistant coach Jim Pace is in charge ... UH leads the series, 16-9 overall, 14-4 in Honolulu ... Sean Takamori still leads the WAC with 18 stolen bases ... Rebels are 45 of 57 in stolen base attempts, 'Bows are 44 of 56 ... Scott Robbs, UNLV's play-by-play announcer for KSFN-AM is the son of the Voice of the Rainbows, Don Robbs.

Bullet Series keys: The Rebels leads the WAC in hitting (.353) and have continued the heavy offense on the current road trip, hitting .349 and averaging 8.1 runs per game in 10 games so far ... Rainbows are 7th in hitting (.295) but second in ERA (3.48) and fielding (.967) while UNLV is 9th in EAR (7.74) and 7th in fielding (.952) ... Rainbows get their second leading hitter, Scooter Martines (.393) back after he sat out the Easter Tournament ... UH's starting and closer roles were clearly defined during the tournament. With Lane Nogawa emerging as a very capable backup at second, short and third, depth is not a question ... Neither team can afford to slip as the series marks the halfway point in the WAC schedule. When the WAC did away with divisions and adopted a single round- robin schedule, UH head coach Les Murakami said, "This way the cream will rise to the top." Now is the time for the 'Bows.

Bullet First pitch: Today, 7:07 p.m.; tomorrow, 7:07 p.m.; Saturday, 1:07 p.m.

Bullet On the air: All games live on KFVE TV (Channel 5) and on KCCN radio (1420 AM).

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