Star-Bulletin Sports

Friday, April 6, 2001


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Familiarity and
fire fuel UH senior
volleyball players

Warrior volleyball players
Davis and Tukuafu share
a common bond

By Grace Wen

Brenton Davis and Torry Tukuafu will never be mistaken for each other. They don't look alike, they don't necessarily think alike, and they definitely don't act like one another.

But the two seniors of the University of Hawaii men's volleyball team have more in common than many might think.

The two mainstays of the Warrior volleyball team both took unorthodox paths to reach Hawaii. And they have fiery on-court personalities.

The pair will team together tonight and tomorrow against the University of Alberta for the last regular-season home matches of their career.

"We have a lot of similarities," Tukuafu said. "We're both right about the same size, we both jump about the same.

"Maybe I jump three inches higher," he jokingly added.

It was an unlikely set of circumstances that brought them to UH at the beginning of their sophomore years.

Coming out of high school, the 6-foot-5 Tukuafu first played at Brigham Young in 1998. He transferred to be nearer his fiancé -- now wife -- Andrea Gomez, who was then a volleyball player at Brigham Young-Hawaii.

Davis' route was a little longer. The Las Vegas native didn't receive any scholarship offers after high school and could not afford college on his own. He attended Long Beach City College his first year but did not play there as he had to have surgery on a tumor found in his shin. It was benign but it did make him more determined to get to Hawaii.

The 6-5 middle blocker contacted assistant coach Tino Reyes and ended up as a walk-on as a sophomore in 1999. He applied for student loans since Hawaii did not have a scholarship available at the time.

Tukuafu and Davis competed for a starting spot their first year with both seeing significant playing time. They also had similar results with Davis hitting a .301 hitting percentage and Tukuafu .324.

"It was hard," Tukuafu said. "It was tough because I had a lot of respect for his game. But, it's like that in all sports."

Last season, both became starters and moved to the middle blocker positions to fill holes in the lineup. They both thrived, earning MPSF honorable mention acclaim. Davis finished second in the nation in blocking with 1.98 blocks per game.

Now in their senior season, with Tukuafu returning to his natural position at opposite and Davis staying at middle, both continue to perform well nightly for the Warriors. Davis is second in hitting (.443) and total blocks (87); Tukuafu is second in aces (21) and kill average (3.07 kpg).

"They never are going to cheat you as far as the effort that they make," UH head coach Mike Wilton said. "They'll do whatever you ask, they're team oriented guys. They filled whatever gap we've asked them to fill and done a great job of it too."

Because of their unique bonds, the two are easily able to sound off about each other. A sample of the two, unplugged:

Tukuafu: "If you say there's one thing that always stands out in your mind, Brenton's always dancing around. It's hilarious, he's a spirited guy."

Davis: "I just want to talk about Torry and his temper and all the times that I had to step in and grab this fool. Torry likes to talk a lot"

Tukuafu: "We're both fiery, we both get pretty vocal at times."

Davis: "As much as I get worked up, I never really want to, obviously there's been times where I've wanted to grab a guy by the throat"

Tukuafu: "Brenton's a sore loser."

Davis: "I'm a very sore loser, very sore loser. Straight from my mouth, I hate to lose but he likes to pick on little guys. So many times I had to step in between them. Torry will never back down from anybody."

Tukuafu: "I've had more moments with Brenton probably than anybody else put together on this team. We've played together the longest."

Davis: "We both came in the same year. We both went to the middle last year. We definitely share a strong bond because we've gone through so many different things together. The ups and downs and all the wins and losses. We've both been here and witnessed and been a part of the same things."

The two have seen the same highs and lows of UH men's volleyball in three years. Ranked No. 1, they hope to experience one more high together -- that of winning a national championship.


Tomorrow is Senior Night at the Stan Sheriff Center. The first 2,500 fans to enter the arena will receive a free team photo. An autograph session will follow the match.

UH Athletics
Ka Leo O Hawaii

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