Former local prep volleyball stars dim UH
By Fred Guzman
As a fan of local volleyball, it was difficult rooting for one team over another in Thursday’s night’s Mountain Pacific Sports Federation tournament semifinal at Maples Pavilion.
Mixed emotions aside, top-seeded and host Stanford – a virtual all-ILH all-star team – swept visiting Hawaii 30-24, 30-28, 33-31 and advanced to tonight’s conference final against Cal State Northridge, which won a five-set marathon against BYU.
The victories all but assured that both teams will qualify for the NCAA Final Four, which also will be hosted by Stanford next week.
The loss brought to an end Charlie Wade’s first – and successful – season as head coach. Hawaii showed an improvement of 10 victories over last year, finishing at 19-10.
Stanford’s roster includes seven players from the Aloha State. Four are starters. And two of them are the sons of Rainbow Wahine coach Dave Shoji. In comparison, four UH players are from in-state and none are starters.
Sophomore outside hitter Brad Lawson, formerly of Iolani, was named MPSF player of the year.
Kawika Shoji, a senior setter from Iolani, was named to the all-conference first team. His brother, a junior libero from Punahou, was named to the second team.
Spencer McLachlin, a junior outside hitter, is the other starter. He’s the son of former Punahou coach and veteran TV analyst Chris McLachlin.
All made major contributions last night. Lawson had 18 kills. Kawika Shoji had a match-high 13 digs and seven blocks. Erik Shoji had 6 digs. And McLachlin chipped in with eight kills, seven digs and one service ace.
BUSY NIGHT: Closer to home, the UH South Campus will be a busy place tonight with three different sporting events taking place.
The 20th-ranked Hawaii softball team tangles with perennial power Fresno State at 6 o’clock in the opener of a three-game series. A double-header is set for tomorrow. UH is 39-11 overall and 17-0 in the WAC, needing just one victory in those three games to clinch the conference regular-season title.
At 6:30, the UH baseball team opens a four-game set against Nevada. The Rainbows are 21-20 overall and find themselves at the bottom of the WAC standings with a 4-8 record. Nevada is 10-11-1 and third in the WAC at 3-4-1. New Mexico State leads the conference at 9-2-1 and is 31-12-1 overall.
Then, at 7 o’clock, the Warrior Bowl will be staged at the adjoining TC Ching field, a scrimmage that marks the end of Hawaii’s spring football camp.
BASEBALL: Oakland catcher Kurt Suzuki appears headed for his first trip to the disabled list. Suzuki missed his fifth straight game last night with a strained muscle on the left side of his body. Following a slow start at the plate, Suzuki lifted his batting average to .254 with four homers – including three in his final four outings before becoming injured.
PREPS: The fifth-ranked Seabury Hall volleyball team are a win away from clinching the MIL D-II title following a sweep of Lanai High last night. The Spartans can secure a berth in the upcoming state tournament by defeating the Pinelads tonight at the Erdman Center.