Saturday, February 3, 2001
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Posted on: Saturday, February 3, 2001

No. 5 Gauchos hammer Warriors in rematch

By Stephen Tsai
Advertiser Staff Writer

The computer used to compile statistics was rendered useless when it was KO’d by a warmup shot.

The star player was admittedly "out of it."

A bee even interrupted play when it took some R&R on the court.

"It was one of those nights," Hawaii coach Mike Wilton said following UC Santa Barbara’s 32-30, 26-30, 37-35, 30-27 men’s volleyball victory last night in the Stan Sheriff Center.

A crowd of 4,167 watched the fifth-ranked Gauchos avenge Wednesday night’s three-game loss and improve to 4-2 overall and 2-2 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation.

The No. 7 Warriors fell to 6-2 and 2-1.

Any similarities between the first and second matches of this series were coincidental. On Wednesday night, the Gauchos had one block and hit .000 in the first two games. But at 7:08 last night, the Gauchos received their wake-up call.

"We came out with more emotion," UCSB opposite Ben Koski said.

In the first match, Koski said, his team might have been lulled by the "laid-back atmosphere," in which the fans gave lei to the UCSB coaches and applauded all good plays, including those made by the Gauchos.

"This time," he said, "we came out fired up. We had nothing to lose. We couldn’t play any worse."

The Gauchos served tough, amassing six aces, and dominated the net. They had 21 blocks and never allowed the Warriors a clean shot. Andy Rivera and David Kohl each had 20 kills for the Gauchos.

Meanwhile, the Warriors had difficulty passing, which led to problems setting.

UH’s All-America player, sophomore outside hitter Costas Theocharidis, struggled throughout the match before he was sent to timeout in the middle of the third game.

"It was obvious there wasn’t any velocity (in Theocharidis’ shots)," Wilton said. "It wasn’t happening. It looked, to me, like he was thinking of something else."

"I was out of it," Theocharidis said. "I was like totally out of this world."

When asked if he had personal problems, Theocharidis nodded, then backtracked, saying, "I don’t want to talk about that. · Sometimes, in competition, you’re off."

Wilton turned to Tony Ching in the third game, in which the Warriors rallied from a four-point deficit and then fought off game point at 29-27, 30-29, 31-30, 32-31 and 33-32 before losing.

"When we lost that game, or (the Gauchos) won it, whatever, that was huge," Wilton said. "We were kind of like zombies" at the start of the fourth game.

In the final game, the Gauchos scored the first four points, then expanded the lead to 17-7.

"We didn’t answer the bell," Wilton said. "Or if we did, it was too late."

The outcome was particularly disappointing because Wilton had implored his players to watch for a Gaucho resurgence. In the game notes distributed to his players, Wilton’s first item was: "Expect a tough match." The second: "Watch for a fast start."

"And on and on," Wilton said. "As advertised, as promised, (the Gauchos) came to play. They were remembering the first night and loving tonight. We give them a lot of credit. It’s disappointing, but this is a tough league and a long season. We have to get back on track."

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