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Star-Bulletin Sports

Monday, February 12, 2001

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

UH logo

Warriors hit the
road after win

UH men's volleyball heads
for San Diego, Long Beach

By Pat Bigold

The University of Hawaii men's volleyball team hopes to do more than just win its two matches on this week's road trip.

The No. 7 Warriors (8-2 overall, 4-1 MPSF) want to prove to themselves they can win at the venue for the 2001 NCAA championships.

Ater playing UC-San Diego (1-7, 0-6) tomorrow at RIMAC Arena, Hawai will move on to play on Thursday at the Pyramid, home of the No. 3 Long Beach State 49ers (6-1 overall, 5-1 MPSF).

The Pyramid will also host the NCAA's semifinals and championship matches May 3 and May 5.

"It's good to get used to that venue," said Hawaii head coach Mike Wilton. "This will be a real good challenge for us.

Hawaii has a chance take over first place in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation's Mountain Division with a victory over the division-leading 49ers. The Warriors trail the series with Long Beach State, 23-24.

Hawaii has lost four of its last five matches with the 49ers, including two at Long Beach State in 1999.

"Long Beach State was ranked preseason No. 1 and they are very big and very talented," said Wilton.

"Our guys know Long Beach State is good. We had a real nice series with them (Feb. 16, Feb. 18) at the Stan Sheriff Center last year, and they beat us (3-2) the first night. We should've won that match. We came back and got them real good in three games in the second match."

"UC-San Diego is in our leage and in mind that makes them dangerous," said Wilton, referring to the weekly upsets this season in the MPSF.

"The last time we were there (March 30-31, 2000), we beat them in three but it wasn't an easy three, and on the second night, we didn't show up. So, we had a (five-game) battle on our hands, and honestly, we were lucky to escape." Hawaii leads the series with the Tritons, 24-0.

Brenton Davis, Hawaii's top percentage hitter (.524), said he's wary of them. "We can't let down playing what seems like a subpar team," he said.

"Any given day, any team can beat any team," said Eyal Zimet, the Warriors leader in service aces (14). "But I think we're going to beat UC-San Diego and then we're going to beat Long Beach State. We hae two weeks break after that, so we can put everything we have against Long Beach State."

The Warriors were 7-3 on the road last season (including a loss in the MPSF tournament).

"We won most of our road games last year, but this season the road games will be much tougher and we will see if we are a really good team or not," said sophomore outside hitter Costas Theocharidis (team-leading 4.21 kills per game).

Dejan Miladinovic, who hasn't been on the road since 1999 due to his injury last season, said he thinks Hawai's sweep of the Matadors has provioded a momentum that will carry through the California trip. He is the team's block leader (1.74 per game).

After coming home, Hawaii will not have another match until it hosts Stanford on March 2.

Theocharidis, who had 20 kills and hit .720 on Saturday night against Cal State Northridge, made a conscious effort to pump up the emotion for his teammates during the introductions and during the three-game sweep. "I talked to coach and he said I have to take more responsibilty with this team," said Theocharidis.

"He should be a leader on this team," said Wilton. "When people have his kind of ability, they have no choice. They're going to be looked at and up to. Their work ethic and their attitude are huge because of the esteem in which those people are held."

Wilton said he likes Theocharidis's histrionics.

"As long as it stays on our side of the net," he said. "I don't like through-the-net stuff at all. Sometimes we do that, although most of the time I think it's retaliation."

Hawaii hit for the highest percentage in the program's history and moved into second place in the Pacific Division with its 30-22, 30-17, 30-21 sweep of Cal Sate Northridge on Saturday.

A crowd of 3,626 saw the Warriors make 49 kills in 69 attempts for a .638 hitting percentage.

Hawaii came into the match hitting .339.

The Warriors made 13 blocks while the No. 13 Matadors (3-8, 0-6) had none. Cal State Northridge hit only .169.

In other MPSF matches last weekend:

No. 5 Pepperdine upset No. 1 Stanford, 25-30, 25-30, 30-22, 30-26, 15-11;
Long Beach State defeated No. 14 UC-Irvine, 30-22, 30-23, 31-33, 26-30, 15-12;
No. 4 BYU defeated unranked UC-San Diego, 30-25, 30-15, 30-25; and
No. 8 USC defeated No. 6 UC-Santa Barbara, 30-22, 27-30, 30-28, 29-31, 15-12.

UH Athletics
Ka Leo O Hawaii

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