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Star-Bulletin Sports

Friday, March 24, 2000

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

By Dennis Oda, Star-Bulletin
UH setter Stefan Krecji has a different attitude
since regaining his job.

Krejci set
to take charge

He will get the start against
Stanford tonight after previously
losing his job to Lockwood

By Dave Reardon


STEFAN Krejci says he has two birthdays. The more he thinks about it, he might make that three.

The University of Hawaii setter was born in the traditional sense on June 17, 1977, in Linz, Austria.

He considers Dec. 15, 1998, the day he signed his letter-of-intent and became a Rainbow, his "second birthday."

When he actually started to become a Warrior would be his third. That was March 10, two weeks ago tonight.

On that day, Krejci temporarily lost his starting position to Russell Lockwood, but gained something else - humility.

Teammates and coaches agree Krejci is a different guy than the one who strutted into the UH program with three years of top-flight European experience.

"He doesn't have his Euro-centric attitude anymore. Now he knows we play good volleyball here, too," Rainbows' assistant coach Tino Reyes said. "They play a pretty high level of volleyball in Europe, and our national team hasn't been very promising lately, so that might be where it came from.

"He's gained a little bit of humility. He works better with the team now."

The 6-foot-2 sophomore admits he came in with an attitude.

"Arrogant might be too tough a word, maybe negative," said Krejci, who regained his spot last Saturday against UCLA and is scheduled to start tonight against Stanford. "Yes, in some ways I was negative.''

One positive is his reaction to the situation as a learning experience.

"If there's something I want to learn, it's to be a team player like him,'' Krecji said of Lockwood. "It's amazing how he finds the strength to do everything he does."

When coach Mike Wilton switched Lockwood for Krejci, Wilton worried about Krejci's morale. But Krejci said he tried not to sulk.

"It was very difficult, but that's over now," said Krejci, who set UH to a 9-6 record before the benching. "I wasn't a starter before on my club team, but this was a first, to lose the job.''

Krejci ostensibly lost his position partly because of an ankle sprain. But at the time, Wilton said Krejci's inability to solve Pepperdine's block was the main reason.

When he returned to run the UH offense after Lockwood ran into problems of his own against UCLA, Krejci seemed more enthusiastic and interested in input from others than before.

Still, the Rainbows were blitzed by the Bruins and for the first time this season, seemed to lack desire.

"That last loss against UCLA was a wake-up call. Sure there was a lack of intensity," Krejci said. "But I think things like that just happen. The key is for the team to come out after a night like that and work even harder than before."

The Rainbows held a 45-minute team meeting after the second UCLA loss.

"It was a really good talk," Wilton said. "Everybody was asking 'What can I do? What do I need to do?' "

Including Krejci.

"I think he's changed for the better," Brenton Davis said.

UH Athletics
Ka Leo O Hawaii

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