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Star-Bulletin Sports

Saturday, March 18, 2000

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

By George F. Lee, Star-Bulletin
Russell Lockwood, left, has a pep talk with teammate
Costas Theocharidis in last night's game.

UCLA has all
the right stuff

The University of Hawaii men's
volleyball team has no answers
for the Bruins' dominance at the net

By Dave Reardon


You can analyze it all you want, but it's really quite simple.

UCLA volleyball coach Al Scates needed just seven words to sum up his team's domination of Hawaii last night at the Stan Sheriff Center.

"When we control the net, we win," said Scates, after his Bruins shredded the Rainbows, 15-4, 12-15, 15-7, 15-11 in a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation match witnessed by 5,530.

Fifth-ranked Hawaii lost its fourth consecutive conference match, falling to 5-6 in the MPSF and 10-7 overall. No. 4 UCLA improved to 20-3 overall and 11-3 in the MPSF.

"The last few years was not characteristic of UCLA teams," Scates said. "We had (Kamehameha graduate) Fred Robins on the court and we won with digging, because Fred was the best digger in the country. But now he's gone and we're back to our old style of defending the net to win matches."

UH had few answers for the Bruins' huge block, which knocked down 17 Rainbow attacks. In addition to size, UCLA seemed to have the predicting powers of a psychic foes network -- and that was when Hawaii was able to get the ball to the net.

"We were just helter-skelter in Games 1 and 3 and I can't explain that," Hawaii coach Mike Wilton said. "Lots of errors. Lots and lots of unforced errors."

The Rainbows hope to regroup for today's 7 p.m. rematch, which does not count in the MPSF standings.

Fledgling setter Russell Lockwood will need to get off to a better start than last night, when the Bruins blitzed to a 7-0 lead in the first game.

"I tried to get the middle going early and I did that (in a win) against Pepperdine last week. Maybe they scouted that real well because they were jumping two guys in the middle right from the beginning," Lockwood said. "I tried to do the same thing, and it didn't work as well and it kind of ruined my confidence."

Scott Morrow, a 6-foot-8 freshman, was in on 11 of UCLA's blocks. Libero Matt Davis cleaned up much of what got through, with 15 digs.

UH outside hitter Clay Stanley finished with a match-high with 39 kills, but he had to carry too much of the Rainbows' offensive burden.

"After you stop setting the middle, it's pretty obvious where the balls are going to go," Stanley said. "And not everyone on our outside was hitting that well, so it was easy for them to gang up on one guy."

Costas Theocharidis suffered an off-night with only 14 kills in 43 swings.

Meanwhile, UCLA's All-American Brandon Taliaferro sprayed sets with enough variation to put five other Bruins in double-figures for kills - when he wasn't getting 10 himself.

"I don't think (Hawaii) knew where the ball was going," Scates said. "I know I didn't."

Scates started Seth Burnham, Evan Thatcher and Matt Komer after Hawaii won the second game behind Stanley's 14 kills.

"We don't have one great hitter," Taliaferro said. "But we've got lots of good-good hitters. It's like we've got nine or 10 starters."

Burnham led UCLA's replacement killers with seven in nine game-three swings as the Bruins regained control of the match.

"He comes in and ... bang, bang, bang," Stanley said.

Geronimo Chala, spelling Theocharidis briefly in the fourth game, gave UH a similar but smaller spark with a block and his first career kill. It was far from enough to alter the match.

All night, Hawaii served aggressively, but scored only three aces while paying with 22 service errors.

Along with nine receiving errors, 10 blocking errors and a ballhandling errors, it left the Rainbows feeling like blaming themselves rather than the Bruins' block.

"They didn't play as well as they did last time they were here (in January, when UCLA won in five)," Stanley said. "They were beatable."

UCLA def. Hawaii, 15-4, 12-15, 15-7, 15-11

Bruins (20-3, 11-3 MPSF)

Taliaferro4 10115.600158
Williams4 141037.108238
Morrow4 11221.4290115
Totals 4 8631 180.30632952

Rainbows (10-7, 5-6 MPSF)

Totals 48236 178.25831449

Key--g: games; k: kills; e: hitting errors; att: attempts; pct.: hitting percentage; bs: block solos; ba: block assists; d: digs.

Aces--UCLA (9): Taliaferro 2, Mount 2, Coon 1, Ratledge 1, Burnham 1, Thatcher 1, Komer 1. UH (3): Stanley 2, B.Davis 1.

Assists--UCLA (79): Taliaferro 68, M.Davis 5, Thatcher 2, Williams 1, Mount 1, Ratledge 1, Komer 1. UH (77): Lockwood 73, Zimet 3, Stanley 1.

T-2:16. Officials: Lee, Ho.

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