Warriors not resting

There is a potential for an upset every night in Mountain Pacific Sports Federation men's volleyball play. Take a day off from playing well and the outcome will likely be a loss.

Stanford at Hawaii

When: Tomorrow and Friday, 7 p.m. Hawaii time

Where: Stan Sheriff Center

TV: Both matches live, KFVE-TV (Ch. 5)

Radio: Both matches live, KKEA (1420-AM)

Tickets: $3-$12 tomorrow, $3-$14 Friday

Which is why No. 3 Hawaii is not taking an injured Stanford team lightly when preparing for encounters with the No. 10 Cardinal tomorrow and Friday. Stanford nearly upset seventh-ranked UC Santa Barbara on Saturday, a match that the Gauchos pulled out by winning the fifth game 18-16.

"We played hard and, had the ball bounced our way once or twice, we could've won," Stanford coach Don Shaw said. "The big difference ... they had Evan Patak and we didn't."

Patak, a 6-foot-8 sophomore outside hitter, was named the Division I National Player of the Week on Monday, partly for his efforts in leading UCSB over Stanford. He set an NCAA rally-scoring record with 48 kills, and he also had four aces and hit .527.

Stanford doesn't have Patak but the Cardinal do have Ben Reddy back from injury. The 6-4 junior, who missed three matches, had 11 kills and hit .500 in the defeat.

Reddy is not 100 percent, according to Shaw. Neither is 6-6 opposite Nick Manov, who has been sidelined all season with an injury, but will make the trip. Injured 6-5 hitter Josh Schwarzapel didn't make the trip.

The stabilizing force behind the Stanford attack has been senior All-American setter Kevin Hansen, fourth on the school's career assist list (4,231).

"Not having players healthy has caused us to shift people out of position," Shaw said, "and we're just looking to be more consistent.

"We know Hawaii is good. Everyone we play is good. We're mainly concerned with ourselves. The key is the same against them as any MPSF match. Serving and passing affects how everything else goes."

Hawaii won the serve-and-pass game in downing UC Irvine twice on the road last week.

"We're just excited to get back on the court and play again," Hawaii sophomore setter Brian Beckwith said. "We look forward to each day that we get to play together.

"This is definitely a different team than last year's. We're determined to be unselfish and team-oriented. We're truly dedicated to working toward the one goal ... the national championship. You can look at the way Pedro (Azenha) is playing and see that. He has sacrificed (individual) things for making the team better."

The senior opposite/outside hitter has a team-leading 127 kills, averaging 5.08 a game. He also has nine of the Warriors' 25 aces.

"We have a great team," Azenha said. "I think these matches will be exciting. Hopefully, a lot of people will show up to watch."

Hawaii is almost at full strength. Junior middle Dio Dante didn't practice yesterday and continues to rehab a back strain suffered last week.

Freshman Kyle Klinger replaced Dante against the Anteaters and, in his first two starts, had a combined 18 kills with two errors in 24 swings.

The Warriors are still waiting on the status of senior All-American middle Delano Thomas, who has been making up class work from last semester. Thomas does have a redshirt year available if he is not cleared to play this season.

Note: Stanford suffered a loss even before the season started when recruit Joe Kay was tackled during a high school basketball postgame celebration last February. The 6-6 Kay tore his carotid artery, which caused a stroke, and he remains partially paralyzed.

Kay, the valedictorian at Tucson (Ariz.) High, has begun to take classes at the University of Arizona. He hopes to attend Stanford and the school will honor its scholarship commitment.

"He had the physical ability -- height, quickness, jumping ability -- to develop into a pretty good outside hitter or opposite," Shaw said. "There are only a few recruits who have the physical skills to play at this level who can also be admitted to Stanford. (Kay scored a perfect 800 on the match portion of the SAT). So it was definitely a blow to our program to have a guy like that admitted, signed and ready to go only to have everything change in a moment like that."

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