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


Wednesday, February 21, 2001




UH to train in
Japan next month

The University of Hawaii Wahine volleyball team will be training in Japan from March 22 to April 1, according to coach Dave Shoji.

"We'll play one college team and two club teams," he said.

Shoji is calling the trip to Japan a bonding exercise with valuable athletic and cultural benefits for the 10 players he'll take.

"We've made similar trips there in past and it's helped us a lot," he said, noting the last one was about six years ago.

Nebraska made a trip to China prior to the 2000 season and Cornhuskers coach John Cook said it promoted team solidarity en route to the national title.

The Wahine will stay with the Japan Tobacco Company club team in Osaka, Toyota's club team in Nagasaki and at the Nippon College of Health and Physical Education in Tokyo.

Ilustre receives release

Hedder Ilustre, younger sister of former Wahine Heidi Ilustre (1994-97), has officially received her release from Cal State Northridge to play for Hawaii.

Shoji said the 5-foot-7 sophomore will probably compete to play libero next season, but not as a scholarship athlete.

"She'll help us with passing and defending," said Shoji. "She's an exciting defensive player."

He said he's pleased to have a familiar face from a familiar family coming to the Wahine program.

"I've known her since ninth grade," Shoji said.

But Jennifer Fopma, Pepperdine's 6-foot-3 All-Pacific Region sophomore middle blocker, is still being denied her request for a waiver of the "year in residence" rule.

"That would mean I'd have to redshirt my first year in Hawaii, and then play the following year," Fopma said.

She said she will appeal for an outright release that would allow her to play in 2001.

Surgery for Sudduth

All-Western Athletic Conference outside hitter Jessica Sudduth had surgery last week to repair the bolar plate ligament in her right thumb. Trainer Melody Toth said it was Sudduth's second surgery on the thumb since December 1998.

She had to decline an invitation to try out for the national team this month, but hopes to be reinvited for a June tryout.

Meanwhile, sophomore setter Jenn Carey is recovering from surgery on Jan. 12.

Toth said Carey had a sesmoidectomy, a process that involved removal of one of two knob-like bones in the ball of her right foot. She had experienced pain from the condition throughout the 2000 season.

Shoji expects Carey to be ready for the Japan trip.

Hawaii opens on road

Nebraska will be in the field when the Wahine open the season at the the State Farm Women's Volleyball Classic in Stockton, Calif., Aug. 24-25.

"But we don't know yet if we'll be paired with them," said Shoji, noting the decision is up to the hosts.

Would he like to have another crack at the team that eliminated his team, 3-1, in the NCAA championship semifinals in Richmond, Va., in December?

"Sure we would," said Shoji.

Also in the field will be NCAA runner-up Wisconsin and No. 8 Pacific, the host school.

Hawaii won the 1996 event, played in Normal, Ill.

Wahine schedule set

The Wahine will host the Hawaiian Airlines Wahine Volleyball Classic Aug. 31 to Sept. 3, and be paired against No. 7 UCLA, No. 16 Kansas State and Michigan.

The Aston Imua Wahine Volleyball Challenge, scheduled for Sept. 6-8, will include No. 4 USC, No. 22 Utah State and Cincinnati.

After single matches at home against No. 25 Loyola Marymount, No. 13 Brigham Young and No. 17 Santa Clara, the Wahine will embark on a four-match road trip that will run into the 2001 WAC schedule.

The Wahine will visit San Diego State (Sept. 26) and then begin their WAC title defense at Louisiana Tech (Sept. 29), Rice (Oct. 4) and Tulsa (Oct. 6).

Ah Mow back to national team

Former Wahine all-American Robyn Ah Mow, the setter for the U.S. Olympic team this past summer, is returning from her pro season in Portugal and will shortly rejoin the national team. ... Former Wahine Heather Bown, also a member of the Olympic team, is currently playing in Italy.

Pat Bigold, Star-Bulletin

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