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Star-Bulletin Sports

Wednesday, February 7, 2001

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

Last-place Matadors
pose threat to

By Pat Bigold

Mike Wilton is telling his Hawaii men's volleyball players not to let their guards down tomorrow night against the big starting lineup of No. 13 Cal State Northridge.

Even though the Matadors are mired in last place in the Mountain Division of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation with an 0-4 record (3-6 overall), they pose a threat.


Bullet What: MPSF men's volleyball
Bullet Who: No. 7 Hawaii vs. No. 13 Cal State Northridge
Bullet When: 7 p.m. tomorrow and Saturday
Bullet Where: Stan Sheriff Center
Bullet Series: Hawaii leads, 28-9
Bullet TV: Live, KFVE (Channel 5) both matches

"Expect a tough match" has become Wilton's mantra in a season in which the AVCA coaches poll has been topped by three different teams in four weeks, and upsets have been the norm.

"They (the Matadors) are close to Santa Barbara," said Wilton, whose No. 7 Warriors (2-1 MPSF, 6-2 overall) were stung by the No. 6 Gauchos last Friday for a split of the two-match series.

Although most wouldn't pay much attention to this detail, Wilton points out that Northridge beat No. 14 UC-Irvine, a team that upset USC earlier this year.

"It's a question of believing we are playing a good team," said Wilton, noting that the Matadors' losses have come to No. 1 Stanford, No. 2 UCLA, No. 3 Long Beach State, No. 4 BYU, No. 5 Pepperdine and No. 8 USC. "They've played the tough teams."

Physically, the Matadors have it over Hawaii.

Their attack is led by 6-foot-6 sophomore outside hitter Joe Nargi.

"He's averaging five kills a game, and that's more than anybody on our team," said Wilton. "He's their best player.''

Northridge's middle blocker is 6-6 Stan Douglas, who averages 1.19 blocks a game.

Then there's 6-10 junior outside hitter Eckhard Walter. The German native leads the team in service aces, thanks in part to his jump serve.

"We just have to pay a lot of attention to him," said Wilton. "We have to touch balls he hits, slow them down and get a transition swing with some heat on it."

Hawaii's attack continues to be led by 6-3 All-American sophomore outside hitter Costas Theocharidis, who is averaging 3.89 kills a game.

Outside hitter Torry Tukuafu is averaging 3.29. Middle blocker Brenton Davis owns the team's top hitting percentage at .496. Theocharidis is next at .365 and middle blocker Dejan Miladinovic is at .363. Miladinovic leads in blocking with 1.72 a game.

UH Athletics
Ka Leo O Hawaii

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