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


Thursday, October 12, 2000


Fenderson to
carry the load

Small Colleges
Wahine Soccer

One good thing about having only one running back in your offense is depth is rarely a problem. Such is the case for the University of Hawaii football team as it prepares for this Saturday's game with Southern Methodist minus its two-headed monster.

Last year, Afatia Thompson and Avion Weaver had a partnership that rivaled a 50-year marriage. Thompson played the first half of most games in 1999 and Weaver came in for the second.

This season, the partnership dissolved because of injuries. Thompson missed most of the Tulsa game and all of the matchup at Texas Christian last week with an ankle sprain.

Weaver joined him soon after with a knee injury in the first quarter of the loss to TCU and won't be back this season.

Both are seniors and aren't scheduled to return to the program next year, but both will file petitions with the NCAA to seek another year of eligibility.

Weaver's is a medical hardship and Thompson's is a partial qualifier issue dating back to his freshman season in 1997.

"It would be great if we could come back and do it all again," Weaver said. "I know Afatia was bummed when he learned last spring that his eligibility clock had started a year sooner than he thought. Maybe we can come back next year and be a Warrior for another season."

As for Hawaii head coach June Jones, he has moved senior running back James Fenderson into the starting lineup for Saturday's homecoming game.

Little-used Robert Grant will back him up and special teams player Thero Mitchell will be third up if more injuries occur this weekend. Grant was a part of the mix last year with five carries for 17 yards and no touchdowns.

As a freshman in 1998, Grant carried the football 17 times for 63 yards. The Oakland, Calif., resident was also used on kickoffs.

"Who knows?" Jones said. "I feel like Robert could run the football back there as well as anybody.

"It's just a case of getting guys in there. When there's only one back in the offense, the playing time for most guys will be limited."

Mitchell redshirted his first year in the program in 1998 and was a member of the scout team last year. The sophomore has seen playing time on special teams this season and like Grant, can carry the ball.

"The thing about this offense is you have to be versatile," Weaver said. "You can't be just a runner. You have to be able to block and be a force in the passing game.

"(UH quarterback) Timmy (Chang) knew he could count on me if everybody else was covered. I'm going to be there on the sidelines to help these guys any way I can. But it's not the same as being on the field."

Tharp doing well at WIU

Meanwhile, another former Hawaii running back is making the most of his senior season. Remember Charles Tharp, the back who didn't fit well into the run-and-shoot system?

Well, all Weaver's close friend has done this year for Division I-AA Western Illinois is run for 780 yards in six games.

Tharp has scored nine touchdowns, is averaging 6.4 yards a carry and needs 331 yards to move to second on the school's all-time rushing list.

Miller close to returning

Injured strong safety Dee Miller could be back this weekend in a limited capacity if he is able to practice today with the team.

Jones said the high hamstring pull is a serious injury that could keep Miller sidelined for this third consecutive game.

The senior said yesterday he should be back for the last half of the season.

"It's killing me just having to watch the games," Miller said. "This isn't how I thought my season would go or our team. I'm going to try to practice and see what happens."

Jones said that Miller would not lose his starting job because of an injury. If he does return, how he shuffles Nate Jackson and Jacob Espiau remains to be seen.

Gilbride wearing orange

After filling in at safety for several weeks, sophomore Kevin Gilbride donned the orange jersey - denoting quarterback - and is back under center.

Jones said all along that Gilbride was an emergency safety only. Once that positioned stabilized with the possible return of Miller and Tavis Campbell (shoulder), Jones decided the experiment had lasted long enough.

Paul Arnett, Star-Bulletin


Playing for
‘keeps’ this year

Hawaii Pacific University women's soccer goalie Yonie Espiritu has enjoyed the most successful season for a keeper in the program's history this year.

Yet, she still would prefer to be the one putting the ball in the net rather than the one trying to keep it out.

The 19-year-old sophomore from Mililani High has posted a team-record, five shutouts this season, helping the Sea Warriors to their winningest season ever at 10-5 overall. Her 0.81 goals against average is on pace to break the school mark of 1.10.

Espiritu was recruited to play forward at HPU. Her last game as goalkeeper before this year was during her junior campaign at Mililani, four seasons ago. However, when three-year starting goalie Carissa Manangan was declared academically ineligible just before the start of this season, Sea Warriors coach Mark Kane asked his squad for volunteers to fill the position.

Up stepped Espiritu.

"Being only a sophomore, I figured I would still have plenty of time to score goals later,'' said Espiritu. "Plus, I thought I was only going to back up the freshman we had recruited to play goalie and I never expected to start."

But Kane said he felt freshman Alicia Van Meier was "too green" to start this year, and named Espiritu the starting keeper shortly before the first game of the season.

Espiritu was thrown straight into the fire, as her promotion coincided with five straight road games against Pacific West Conference foes.

"Taking one for the team is what I like to call it," Espiritu said. "Our team's success is what's most important to me, and it was a matter of contributing in any way I could without letting my ego get affected."

And as the Sea Warriors' record illustrates, Espiritu has contributed in a big way. Though HPU went 1-4 on that first road trip, the Sea Warriors were competitive in each game. Since then, HPU has gone 9-1 at home, including six consecutive victories in their last six games.

While the Sea Warriors are not in line for a PacWest postseason bid due to their rough start, they did win the last two games on their PacWest schedule for a 3-4 conference mark for the year.

"Yonie was put in a difficult situation and she has been a pleasant surprise,'' Kane said. "It's a completely different mindset being the keeper and she had to give up a lot. (Our success) says a lot for her and our defense."

Despite her record-setting performance this year, Espiritu yearns to return to offense as a forward. She figures to get the opportunity next year as Kane and his staff plan to actively recruit a goalie -- knowing they have a more-than-capable back-up in Espiritu for insurance.

"Being a goalie in high school was my 'dirty, little nasty' that I wanted to keep secret," Espiritu said. "I'll continue to play goalie if they need me, but I wanna score some goals."

The Sea Warriors have one game remaining on their schedule this year, a non-conference matchup against the University of Hawaii Wahine on Oct. 29 at Waipio Peninsula Stadium.

Stephanov player of week

HPU junior forward Toni Stephanov was cited PacWest Player of the Week in men's soccer on Monday. Last week, the 5-foot-10 native of Momchilgrad, Bulgaria had a hat trick in the Sea Warriors' 11-2 victory over Northwest Nazarene and then assisted on the only goal in HPU's 1-0 win over Western Washington.

On Saturday, Stephanov and the Sea Warriors (6-3-1, 2-2) visit Brigham Young-Hawaii (3-8, 1-3) for a PacWest game at Laie.

HPU still the one

The HPU women's volleyball team is still undefeated (12-0, 5-0) and the unanimous No. 1-ranked team in the nation.

The Sea Warriors have been the unanimous top pick in NCAA Division II for six consecutive weeks and are set for a seven-game PacWest homestand after returning from a successful mainland road trip.

BYU-Hawaii (8-4, 4-1) climbed three spots to No. 8.

Off to their best start in school history, the Sea Warriors face St. Martin's tomorrow and Central Washington on Saturday. Both matches are at 7:30 p.m. at St. Andrew's Priory Gym.

BYUH plays host to Central Washington tomorrow and St. Martin's Saturday. Matches are at 7:30 p.m. at Cannon Activities Center.

Chaminade (2-5, 3-12) takes on Western Oregon tomorrow and Humboldt State on Saturday. Matches are at 7:30 p.m. at McCabe Gym.

Hawaii-Hilo (0-7, 4-11) host Humboldt State tomorrow and Western Oregon on Saturday. Matches are at 7:15 p.m. at the UHH gym.

Brandon Lee , Special to the Star-Bulletin


At Texas-El Paso, Tulsa, Oral Roberts

Bullet Road Trip Schedule: Tomorrow vs. Texas-El Paso, 3 p.m.; Sunday vs. Tulsa, 9:30 a.m.; Monday vs. Oral Roberts, 2 p.m.

Bullet Coaches: Hawaii, Pinsoom Tenzing, 7th season (46-67-8, .413); Texas-El Paso, Veronica O'Brien, 5th season (39-44-7, .439); Tulsa, Damon Gore, 2nd season (15-15-1, .500); Oral Roberts, Kyle Cussen, 4th season (30-21-2, .585).

Bullet Season records: Hawaii (4-8-2 overall, 1-1-1 Western Athletic Conference); Texas-El Paso (5-8-0, 1-3-0); Tulsa (7-5-1, 2-2-0); Oral Roberts (7-5-1).

Bullet Series record: Hawaii leads the series against all three teams, 1-0. UH beat UTEP, 3-1, Tulsa, 1-0, and Oral Roberts, 3-0, on the campus field last year.

Bullet Match keys: The Wahine know they will be in great shape as far as the WAC race is concerned if they win both road conference matches. They have shown improvement in using a wide field, passing combinations are developing and the strikers are gaining confidence in their ability to finish. UH needs all of this to continue getting better, plus a quick adjustment to strange fields on this trip. The Wahine have yet to win a road match in 2000 and need to get over that hump ... The Miners thrashed Youngstown State, 12-0, Sept. 24, then scored just one goal in losing their first three WAC matches before shocking host Fresno State, 4-0, last Sunday. The question is: Which UTEP team will show up to play UH? ... Wahine head coach Pinsoom Tenzing has seen a Tulsa game tape and says the Golden Hurricane have improved over last year. This could be a pivotal match for the Wahine and it won't be easy. Tulsa is 3-2 at home and took Southern Methodist into overtime before losing to the Lady Mustangs ... Oral Roberts has lost three consecutive matches entering Saturday's Mid-Continent Conference match with Oakland. The Wahine need to come out of this non-conference encounter with the Golden Eagles injury free. It might be an opportunity for Tenzing to give the reserves more playing time.

Bullet Top players: Hawaii, Veronica Flores, junior striker (2 goals, 4 assists); Arlene Devitt, freshman striker (6 goals, 2 assists); Camille Kalama, senior defender/midfielder who plays a composed game that hopefully rubs off on some of her younger teammates, and Demarre Sanchez, senior goalkeeper (1.49 goals allowed average) ... Texas-El Paso, Emily Parker,sophomore midfielder (6 goals, 4 assists); Jenny Andre, senior midfielder (3 goals), and Kristi Jang, freshman midfielder (3 goals, 1 assist) ... Tulsa, Pam Devore, freshman goalkeeper (5 shutouts, 1.44 goals allowed average); Julie Twellman, sophomore striker (9 goals, 3 assists); Melissa McCormick, junior striker (5 goals, 5 assists), and Marcie Ferguson, sophomore midfielder (4 goals, 4 assists) ... Oral Roberts, Jodi Kirkchuff, sophomore midfielder (5 goals, 1 assist); Kari Shoemaker, senior midfielder (4 goals, 6 assists), and Tessa Long, sophomore striker (5 goals, 4 assists).

Bullet Interesting facts: Demarre Sanchez's shutout effort against Nevada was her 8th career solo shutout breaking a tie for first place with Amanda Paterson ... UH players have received 16 yellow cards this year, most in the WAC ... The Wahine have never played at any of the schools they face on this road trip ... Tulsa hosts Nevada tomorrow and UTEP hosts Nevada Sunday ... Hawaii leads the WAC in home attendance with 9,252 (1,028 average). Fresno State is second, 7,325 (732) followed by Southern Methodist, 2,234 (447), Tulsa, 1,452 (363), Texas-El Paso, 2,075 (346), Nevada, 1,455 (291) and San Jose State, 1,657 (207).

Bullet Next Up: The Wahine return home next Tuesday, then host Texas Christian in a WAC match Thursday, Oct. 19 at 7 p.m. at the Waipio Peninsula Soccer Stadium.

Al Chase, Star Bulletin

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