Star-Bulletin Sports

Wednesday, April 4, 2001


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Hawaii rises to No. 1
in both collegiate polls

By Grace Wen

The University of Hawaii men's volleyball team has broken records all season. But the latest accomplishment is one the it hasn't achieved in a while.

For the first time in five years, Hawaii has top billing in both the AVCA coaches and Volleyball magazine polls. UH last held both No. 1 spots in 1996.

On a grueling four-match road trip last week, Hawaii went 3-1 including its first win in 18 years over UCLA at Pauley Pavilion. Besides the win at UCLA, the Rainbows also knocked off UC Irvine twice en route to its best record at this point in the season since 1998.

But neither head coach Mike Wilton nor the players are putting too much emphasis on the ranking.

At a weightlifting session yesterday, setter Kimo Tuyay spoke of needing to be more consistent with his own play in quarterbacking the Warriors. According to Tuyay, Hawaii is still concerned with working hard and focusing on the matches at hand and not the No. 1 ranking.

UH head coach Mike Wilton agreed with his players' mentality.

"It's a nice tribute to the guys but it's not much to think about really," Wilton said. "It's a nice tribute but we need to be thinking about Alberta (Friday and Saturday) and the rest of the season."

After those exhibition matches this weekend against Alberta, two road matches at BYU, the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation playoffs, and hopefully for UH, the NCAA final four wraps up the season.

Against BYU, it will be a showdown between the current Nos. 1 and 2. The Cougars fell in the polls after splitting a weekend series against Pacific.

The MPSF playoffs begin April 21. The top four teams from each division enter into an eight-team playoff with the winner receiving the automatic bid into the NCAA tournament. The top four seeds will host first-round matches with the remaining games to be played at the home of the highest remaining seeds.

From the Pacific Division, Hawaii and Long Beach State have clinched berths. In the Mountain Division, BYU, UCLA and Pepperdine have already earned spots.

Although Hawaii players aren't focusing too much on the ranking, they admit that the recognition is nice.

"They appreciate what we're doing," outside hitter Costas Theocharidis said of the voters. "They started respecting the team. We proved we have some guts. We were good at UCLA and we'll be good at BYU."

UH Athletics
Ka Leo O Hawaii

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