Star-Bulletin Sports

Thursday, April 15, 1999

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

Kosty adjusted to
being ‘little man’

The Rainbows' hitter faced
bigger opponents in college and
is willing to be a defensive
specialist to continue playing

By Cindy Luis


Volleyball has become a big-man's game, but it hasn't passed Chris Kosty by.

The senior hitter for the University of Hawaii men's volleyball team will be one of the shortest players on the court tomorrow when the seventh-ranked Rainbows host No. 10 Southern Cal. At 6-foot-3, Kosty has learned to play in the land of the giants.

"It's been an adjustment for me," said Kosty, who has won back his starting spot as swing hitter and primary passer. "In high school, I was whacking off 30 kills a game but, then, the average height you played against was 5-8. Now it's like 6-6.

"I'd like to play at the next level, but I'm realistic. I'm going to try out for the World University Games next month, but it will have to be as a defensive specialist. There's no way I'm going to beat out (Stanford's 6-9) Gabe Gardner, (UCLA's 6-6) Fred Robins, (Hawaii's 6-9) Clay Stanley. I'm just going to go out and do my best.

"I can't stand being mediocre. For me, it's all or nothing."

That pretty much sums up Kosty's second season in a Rainbow uniform. He has spent half the year on the court, half of it on the bench as coach Mike Wilton desperately sought a winning combination.

Wilton has used 11 different lineups in 25 matches. Tomorrow will be the third match in a row where the faces are the same, including that of Kosty.

"Chris has a lot of ability," said Wilton. "What's pleasing to me is to see him with some confidence. He has the ability, but sometimes I question how much he believes it."

No one questions Kosty's athleticism and love of the game. The Fountain Valley (Calif.) High graduate was the MVP of the California junior college league, where he helped Golden West Community College to two state championships.

When it came time to move to Division I, he had a number of options. His brother's alma mater, UC Santa Barbara, was under heavy consideration, as were a number of other schools in southern California.

"But I wanted to go away, go somewhere different," said Kosty. "Hawaii called and I came.

"I've enjoyed it here -- the crowds, the arena, the people. No regrets."

Other than not playing as much as he had hoped.

"I've been pushed by the competition within our team and it's helped me become a better player," he said. "Now I wish I had another season to keep improving."

Kosty knew he would not be a star at the Division I level. His junior college coaches told him to be prepared to do "all the dirty work," he said.

There have been matches where the opposition has paid for forgetting about Kosty. He's become a master of tooling the block and is very effective on combination plays.

In last Friday's win at Pacific, Kosty had nine kills and hit .615. He also had 10 digs and two service aces against the Tigers.

It's that versatility that should make him an excellent pro beach prospect. Kosty says the future "is a big blank right now" but that the pro beach tour is an option.

"I want to finish school and maybe coach, like my brother (Stanford assistant John)," said Kosty.

There's still volleyball left to play this season. Hawaii needs to win at least one of the two matches with Southern Cal to host a first-round playoff match.

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