Hawaii's Kimo Tuyay jumped when Delano Thomas hit the ball over Ball State's Keith Schunzel last night.

Warriors survive
to sweep Cards

No. 1 UH wins in three despite outscoring
No. 7 Ball State by just nine points

By Grace Wen

Being the top team in the country means never having an easy night.

For the second match in a row, No. 1 Hawaii struggled against an opponent. This time it was seventh-ranked Ball State, which was relentless but erratic in its play. The Warriors managed to sweep the Cardinals 31-29, 30-28, 30-25 at the Stan Sheriff Center yesterday. Hawaii plays Shanghai Oriental today at 7:30 p.m. for the Outrigger Hotels Invitational title.

"Sometimes when you're not playing well and the other team is, you've got to reach down and find something, and our guys did tonight," Hawaii coach Mike Wilton said. "I think we had a little luck the first two games, just some lucky plays. They were outplaying us the first two games.

"Joshua (Stanhiser) probably had his best performance tonight. He caused them some problems with his serve and he's getting more and more comfortable at the net and becoming a force."

Behind a breakout performance by the junior, Hawaii utilized all of its options to defeat Ball State. Stanhiser, a 6-foot-10 middle blocker, hit .846 with 12 kills and was the Warriors' kill leader through Game 2. Senior Costas Theocharidis ripped a match-high 15 kills and sophomore Delano Thomas chipped in 11.

"We certainly didn't expect him to play as well as he did," Ball State coach Joel Walton said of Stanhiser. "He played a great match. He really hurt us. We tried to get a little bigger middle in there, but he kept hitting over us, and you can't teach 6-10."

Ball State got 14 kills apiece from outside hitters Jary Delgado, cousin of the Warriors' Jose Delgado, and Kyle Weindel. The Cardinals were fine on offense, hitting .382, but they couldn't score points as 14 service errors stifled any runs they attempted.

"We were trying to serve tougher," Walton said. "When we serve tough, we put a lot of pressure on teams. Theocharidis had a couple of key kills when they were out of system."

The Cardinals were spirited but inconsistent, and so were the Warriors. For every run Hawaii made, it would also give up streaks of easy points to Ball State. The Cardinals went up 23-20 and took their first lead of Game 1 during a 7-1 run. Stanhiser kept Hawaii in the game as he connected with Kimo Tuyay for four straight kills. Stanhiser's sixth kill knotted the score at 27. Ball State had game point, but an illegal substitution nullified the point and gave Hawaii its first chance at winning the game. Josh Zudeima blasted a kill through the block to even the score. The Warriors clinched the game on a kill by Thomas and a Ball State hitting error.

"Games 1 and 2 could have gone either way," Walton said. "We gave up that doggone point at the end of Game 1. I don't pay much attention to that and the kid just forgot to check in.

"In Game 3, maybe we ran out of gas a little bit. It's hard going into Game 3 when the other team has already won the first two. The other team is relaxed, firing everything at you. If they stay loose and don't make errors, it's tough to handle all the heat."

Hawaii trailed all of Game 2. The Warriors looked out of synch and at one point the scrambling was so bad that Tuyay was swinging at balls. Tuyay's first kill of the match brought Hawaii within one at 19-18. The Warriors got a much needed lift from freshman Matt Bender's serving. Bender served three points in a row, including an ace that hit the tape and dribbled over. Bender's next serve ended in an overpass that Eyal Zimet crushed for a 26-24 Hawaii lead. The crowd of 4,306 erupted after the ball landed.

Surprisingly, Hawaii's best attacker late in the game was Stanhiser again. The junior, who is in his first year of Division I volleyball, put away the three sets that came his way and even his mistakes went down as kills. Stanhiser added the finishing touch in Game 2 with his 11th kill of the match.

"I'm definitely getting more comfortable out there," Stanhiser said. "I'm enjoying it and getting a few more swings. I have to give my teammates a lot of credit for getting me the ball."

The Warriors will unveil their national championship banner before today's championship against Shanghai. There will be a short ceremony prior to the start of the match.

Wilton contract approved: The Board of Regents approved a new contract for Warriors coach Mike Wilton yesterday, which runs through May 31, 2005.

"I think this is a great statement by the University in extending Mike Wilton's contract," UH athletic director Herman Frazier said in a statement. "He has done a terrific job molding young student-athletes into great volleyball players both on the court and in the classroom."

Wilton is 203-87 in 11 seasons at UH and guided the Warriors to their first national championship last season.

Notes: Hawaii opposite Pedro Azenha is eligible to play in today's match. Azenha sat out the Warriors' first four matches because he competed in an international tournament. ... Hawaii leads the series against Ball State 5-2. ...The score of Thursday's Game 4 was incorrectly reported. Hawaii defeated Penn State 30-23, not 30-22.

Hawaii def. Ball St.

31-29, 30-28, 30-25


g k e att pct. bs ba d
Sasson 2 4 2 8 .250 0 0 0
Delgado 3 14 3 24 .458 0 2 5
Schunzel 3 0 0 1 .000 0 4 1
Zuidema 3 13 4 22 .409 0 3 7
Denmark 3 7 2 12 .417 0 6 1
Weindel 3 14 4 28 .357 0 1 3
Berg 3 0 0 0 .000 0 0 0
Hall 3 0 0 0 .000 0 0 6
Grabovac 2 3 1 7 .286 0 1 0
Totals 3 55 16 102 .382 0 17 23

WARRIORS (4-0, 2-0 OHVI)

g k e att pct. bs ba d
Tuyay 3 2 1 5 .200 0 2 6
Zimet 3 9 2 14 .500 0 1 7
Theocharidis 3 15 1 27 .519 0 1 3
Ching 3 7 5 24 .083 0 2 5
Thomas 3 11 4 18 .389 0 2 2
Stanhiser 3 12 1 13 .846 0 4 0
Muise 3 0 0 0 .000 0 0 3
Bender 3 0 0 1 .000 0 0 0
Totals 3 56 14 102 .412 0 12 26

Key -- g: games; k: kills; e: hitting errors; att: attempts; pct.: hitting percentage; bs: block solos; ba: block assists; d: digs.

Aces -- Ball St. (3): Weindel 3. Hawaii (2): Thomas, Bender. Assists -- Ball St. (48): Schunzel 44, Hall 3, Sasson. Hawaii (52): Tuyay 45, Ching 3, Zimet 2, Theocharidis, Thomas.

T -- 1:52. Officials -- Dan Hironaka, Burt Fuller. Attendance -- 4,306.

UH Athletics

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