Volleyball on Maui: Wait ‘til next year

March 3, 2010, 6:37 AM HST · Updated March 3, 6:37 AM
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By Fred Guzman

MauiNow.com

An apologetic University of Hawaii athletic director Jim Donovan joined us on-air Monday to explain the many reasons why the plug was pulled on the sold-out volleyball match scheduled for Saturday at Maui’s War Memorial Gym.

His timeline of events, and the many hurdles they created, seemed valid. And Donovan promised to bring future UH athletic events to the Valley Isle – including a volleyball match next season.

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Although it’s impossible to predict what the outcome of the match would have had it been played here, the crowd at the Stan Sheriff Center last night represented a fraction of the 2,500 tickets sold for the scheduled match on Maui.

But enough sour grapes. UH followed up Friday’s dramatic five-game victory over BYU on by sweeping the Cougars 30-27, 30-26, 30-25.

The victories improved Hawaii’s records to 10-5 overall and 6-4 in the MPSF, the nation’s most competitive men’s volleyball conference.

Leading the way for UH, who remained eighth in the national rankings released Monday, was the front line of Joshua Walker and Jonas Umlauft, each with 15 kills, and Steven Hunt, who had 12.

Another key factor for UH was exceptional serving accuracy. In Friday’s match, the Bows did not commit a service error. Last night, they had just one in 64 serves.

Hawaii now hits the road this week for matches at Cal State Northridge and USC.

UH HOOPS: This is all you need to know about how far expectations have fallen for the floundering University of Hawaii basketball program. Sadly, the current goal is to finish eighth in a nine-team league in order to qualify for the WAC tournament.

On a positive note, UH put together its most complete game against a worth opponent on Saturday night by snapping a nine-game losing streak with a 74-63 win over Nevada in a contest initially postponed because of concerns about an impending tsunami.

With 10 family members making the tip from Texas for Senior Night, Rod Flemings treated them and the crowd at the Stan Sheriff Center with a 20-point, 12-rebound performance.

J unior point guard H i r a m T h o m p s o n a d d e d a c a r e e r – h i g h 1 9 p o i n t s a n d s i x a s s i s t s , a n d Adher M a y e n s c o r e d a c a r e e r – h i g h 1 7 f o r H a w a i ‘ i .

The win improved UH’s marks to 10-18 overall and 3-11 in the WAC. Next for the Bows is a visit to Boise State on Thursday, and a win would assure them of a berth in the WAC tourney.

On the diamond, the baseball Bows evened their record at 4-4 by taking three of four games against visiting 25th-ranked Oregon, splitting a series-ending twinbill on Sunday.

Greg Garcia had three hits and drove in the go-ahead run for a 5-2 win in the opener. Oregon avoided being swept by blanking UH 3-0 in the nightcap as Zack Thornton and Drew Gagnier combine on a two-hitter.

PREP HOOPS: Getting there is never easy. But for the MIL’s two qualifiers for the state high school Division-I basketball tournament, sticking around for a while will be an even taller task. Literally.

Both teams, overall champion Lahainaluna and runner-up Kamehameha-Maui, will be decided underdogs in their opening games.

Kamehameha-Maui, for example, will open tonight against a much taller Punahou team in a 5 p.m. game at McKinley High that will be aired live on ESPN 550 and espn550.com.

Punahou was one of three teams to finish in a tie for first place in the ILH regular-season, requiring a playoff won by Iolani. The third team in the mix, Kamehameha-Kapalama, also eventually qualified for the 12-team state field by winning a play-in game.

The winner of tonight’s game will face third-seeded Hilo in Thursday’s quarterfinals.

MIL champ Lahainaluna was seeded fourth and drew a bye into the quarters, facing the winner tonight’s the Kahuku-Waiakea game at 5 p.m. Thursday at Radford High.

The other D-I seeds are No. 1 Iolani and No. 2 Moanalua.

The best bet among MIL teams to enjoy success in this year’s state tournament is Seabury Hall, seeded second behind Roosevelt in the eight-team D-II field. The Spartans open on Thursday in a 5 p.m. contest at Kalani High against Academy of the Pacific.

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