named AVCA
Player of the Year

Hawaii's outside hitter is
the first four-time first-team
All-American in men's volleyball

He was looked upon as the best player out there every time he stepped onto the volleyball court.

Every match this season, Costas Theocharidis carried the heavy mantles of three-time All-American, the 2002 NCAA Finals MVP and 2001 National Player of the Year. The senior outside hitter for the Warriors shouldered the burdens well, becoming Hawaii's all-time leader in kills, kill attempts and service aces.

Yesterday, Theocharidis added yet another line to his resume when being named the American Volleyball Coaches Association's National Player of the Year for the second time in three years. He also became the first-ever four-time first-team All-American in men's volleyball.

"I don't think it's any surprise," UH associate head coach Tino Reyes said. "He led the country in kills and points-scored. He maybe had a better overall season last year but I don't know of anyone more deserving this season.

"And I'm really happy that our other two guys got the recognition."

UH teammates Tony Ching and Delano Thomas join Theocharidis on the 10-member first team. Ching, a senior hitter from Kamehameha, was second on the team in kills while Thomas, a sophomore middle blocker from Sacramento, led the Warriors in blocking and hitting percentage.

It was the first All-American award for Ching, who was named to the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation's second team last week. Thomas, a Volleyball Magazine All-American last season, was also on the MPSF's second team.

The three Hawaii players chose not to attend yesterday's banquet at Long Beach, Calif., site of this week's final four. In today's semifinals at The Pyramid, Pepperdine takes on Lewis, followed by BYU facing Penn State.

"I was kind of surprised," said Theocharidis yesterday. "Of course, no matter what award I get, it doesn't make up for our team not being in Long Beach (at the final four) this week. It's been hard to get over the emotional distress of how the season ended.

"But I'm really happy for Tony and Delano. They deserved it, worked their butts off and had exceptional seasons."

Theocharidis is the second Hawaii volleyball player to be named national Player of the Year twice. Wahine outside hitter Teee Williams earned the honor in 1987 and was co-player in 1989.

Other national players of the Year from UH are Yuval Katz (1996) and Angelica Ljungquist ('96).

Theocharidis said he will play in the Puerto Rico summer league, then return to UH in the fall to finish his degree work in finance and management information systems.

AVCA All-American teams

First Team

Tony Ching Hawaii OH Sr.
Doug English CS Northridge L Jr.
Brad Keenan Pepperdine MB Sr.
Gustavo Meyer Lewis OH So.
Joe Nargi CS Northridge Opp Sr.
Jimmy Pelzel UC Irvine Opp Jr.
Sean Rooney Pepperdine OH So.
Chris Tamas Pacific S Sr.
Costas Theocharidis Hawaii OH Sr.
Delano Thomas Hawaii MB So.

Second Team

Jonathan Alleman BYU Opp Jr.
Shane Davis Loyola-Chicago S Sr.
Carlos Guerra Penn State OH Sr.
Keith Kowal Penn State MB Jr.
Jose Martins Lewis S Jr.
Carlos Moreno BYU S So.
Jeff Ptak IPFW OH Sr.
Justin Schnor Loyola-Chicago OH Sr.
Ryan Stuntz Lewis L Jr.
Fred Winters Pepperdine OH Jr.

Player of Year -- Costas Theocharidis, Hawaii

Newcomer of Year -- Tyler Hildebrand, Fr., Long Beach State

UH Athletics


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