Saturday, February 10, 2001
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Posted on: Saturday, February 10, 2001

Warriors hope to avoid second-match letdown

By Stephen Tsai
Advertiser Staff Writer

As "Hannibal" movie-goers learned yesterday, sequels — with the exception of "The Godfather II," the New Testament and Ken Griffey Jr. — are letdowns.

With that in mind, the University of Hawaii men’s volleyball team seeks to overcome the odds with another strong performance against Cal State Northridge in tonight’s rematch. First serve is at 7:10 in the Stan Sheriff Center.

Thursday night, the Warriors dominated every phase in a three-game victory. But recent history shows the Warriors have had trouble with the hana hou part. Last week, the Warriors swept UC Santa Barbara and then, two nights later, lost in four games.

"I don’t think we need to say anything about that," UH coach Mike Wilton said. "I think they’ve had enough pain that (the UCSB series) will serve as a reminder for a long time. At least I hope so."

"True, true," UH middle blocker Dejan Miladinovic said. "I hope we learned something from last week and won’t let it happen again."

The Warriors used a two-step formula to stop the Matadors in the first match. They served tough — they had 10 aces — and disrupted the Matadors’ passing. Scrambling to start their offense, the Matadors had few options, except outside hitters Joe Nargi and 6-foot-10 Eckhard Walter. Northridge had little success against UH’s middle block.

Wilton expects the Matadors to expand their offense. Walter repeatedly attempted crossing shots; Nargi tried to hit over the block. "We have to be ready for their changes," Wilton said.

UH will receive a boost with the availability of opposite hitter Torry Tukuafu, who did not play in the first match because of a bruised left retina. Wilton said he has not decided if Tukuafu or Tony Ching will start at opposite.

In either case, Wilton said, outside hitter Costas Theocharidis will get the majority of back-row sets that used to go to Tukuafu. Wilton said it is in the team’s best interest for Theocharidis to get eight or nine sets per game.

"It’s not like we want to wear his arm out," Wilton said. "But he needs to be available in every rotation."

Theocharidis, who is nearly healed from a sore right (hitting) arm, said the more sets he receives, "the better I can help my team."

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