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Star-Bulletin Sports

Tuesday, February 6, 2001

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

a constant


Pat Bigold

Hawaii coach Mike Wilton has said it time and again this season:

"On any given night ..."

Three weeks ago, then-No. 1 Pepperdine was upset by then-No. 8 Stanford in five games.

Two weeks ago, then-No. 3 USC was toppled by then-unranked UC-Irvine in five. And last weekend, in an even bigger surprise, current No. 1 Long Beach State was swept by No. 13 Pacific.

Hawaii took two matches from UOP here on Jan. 25 and Jan. 27. No. 7 Hawaii swept UC-Santa Barbara on Wednesday and then lost to the Gauchos in four on Friday.

"There are eight or nine teams in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation that can beat anyone else on any given night," Wilton said.

He said there's an up side and a down side to playing in such a balanced MPSF. The up side is that the Warriors can't help but be ready for whatever comes their way. The down side is they will pay the physical price for it going into postseason.

Miladinovic sits out practice

Junior middle blocker Dejan Miladinovic suffered a minor arch injury to his right foot during the 3-1 loss Friday night to No. 5 UC-Santa Barbara. He sat out practice yesterday.

Wilton said he opted to rest the 6-foot-7 co-captain as a precautionary measure. He is expected to start against No. 11 Cal State Northridge on Thursday.

"The doctor said it's a common injury," said Miladinovic, who might wear an arch support Thursday.

Theocharidis feeling better

The good news for Hawaii is that sophomore All-American outside hitter Costas Theocharidis told Wilton the other day that his shoulder is feeling better.

"He said, 'Coach, I'm ready to play,' " Wilton said. Theocharidis, Hawaii's attack leader, has made fewer than 10 kills in each of his last two matches. He'd been in double digits in all of his previous collegiate matches.

He injured his shoulder playing tennis with teammate Eyal Zimet during Christmas break and the ailment had nagged him off and on for more than a month.

Chala still ineligible

Geronimo Chala, a Cuban-born 6-6 sophomore middle blocker, remains academically ineligible this season. Chala, a music major, is a talented flutist.

Fans showing good signs

Signs being waved by fans throughout the Stan Sheriff Center for individual players this season show creativity and humor.

Theocharidis is the subject of most signs:

"Costas -- The Grecian Formula"

"Costas the Greek God."

"Costa Theo ... It's Greek to Me."

There is also one fan who raises the Greek flag whenever Theocharidis makes a kill.

But the other starters have their signs, too:

"Mila Time," for Miladinovic.

"Torry, Torry, Torry," for senior co-captain Torry Tukuafu.

"Hey, y'all, it's Eyal," for sophomore outside hitter Zimet.

"Hooray Tuyay," for freshman setter Kimo Tuyay.

"Bren '10' Kaboom," for senior Brenton Davis, who wears No. 10 and is known for his explosive hits at the net.

"Maui-Built," for burly 5-8 junior libero Vernon Podlewski.

Secret agent men

How do the Warriors relax before a match? Miladinovic said he takes a nap.

But most of the rest convene inside their locker room hours before the first serve to stir up the adrenaline playing Nintendo's James Bond video game.

The games are intense, scores are regularly posted on a board, and the battle never ends. Even James Jessen, who was here on a recruiting trip from Santa Cruz last weekend, spent time on the game.

Serbian barbecue at the beach

Miladinovic and basketball guard Predrag Savovic join a large group of locally residing Serbian natives who hold barbeques every Sunday afternoon at Ala Moana Park. It's an opportunity for them to converse in their mother tongue and share news from home.

UH Athletics
Ka Leo O Hawaii

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