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Friday, December 15, 2000

Associated Press
Members of the Nebraska volleyball team celebrate
their win over Hawaii. Story in Sports.


Fans agree blocking troubles
downed the Wahine; many eagerly
await next season

By Rosemarie Bernardo

BLOCKED, beaten, bruised. But they'll be back.

That was the sentiment yesterday after disappointed fans watched the University of Hawaii volleyball Wahine go down in four to an overpowering Nebraska team in Richmond, Va. Some of the fans took long lunches or time off from work to watch the game at bars and restaurants all over the state.

"The team is still young," said Kirkland Ching, among the die-hard fans who watched the NCAA semifinal match on several TV screens at Eastside Grill, in Puck's Alley near the university. "They'll be back next year."

It was the big block that did the team in, giving the Cornhuskers three of the four games at the Richmond Coliseum, he said. "I think if they won one of the first games, they would've had a chance," Ching said.

"They didn't adjust to the blocks," summed up Deputy Attorney General Kumu Vasconcellos. "It was disappointing because I know they can play better."

Eugene Myers, 27, was more to the point: "If they blocked better, they would've kicked their butts."

But Myers is confident the Wahine, who have been to the Final Four in women's volleyball a total of seven times, will be back next year.

"At least they gave Nebraska a run for their money," said Daryl Lee, 32, a mechanic at the Ala Wai Golf Course. "UH played their heart out."

Just up University Avenue, fans watching the match at Players cheered the team on while UH sophomore Scott Carlyle crammed for his final exam in macroeconomics. It wasn't easy -- he was sitting near the sports bar's 34-inch TV screen.

"I think it'll be good exposure for the university," said Carlyle, 19. "The community embraces them so much. They had a great season."

Wilma Ogimi and her family went to Players to watch the Wahine because their television set was broken. "I think the fans are so much fun," said Ogimi, 50. Watching the match at the bar was almost like being at the Stan Sheriff Center, she said. "You don't get that at home."

But not everyone who went to Players or the Eastside Grill yesterday intended to catch the Wahine.

In fact, Lenora Stevens, 75, had never watched a Wahine volleyball game until yesterday. Stevens and her friend Nancy Manuel were lunching at the Eastside Grill and couldn't help but see the match on 10 TV sets in the restaurant.

"I'm a fan now for life," Stevens said. "I'm going to watch them from now on."

UH Athletics
Ka Leo O Hawaii

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