Sunday, February 11, 2001
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Posted on: Sunday, February 11, 2001

UH men's volleyball team makes quick work of Matadors

By Stephen Tsai
Advertiser Staff Writer

You could set a watch to Hawaii’s 30-22, 30-17, 30-21 men’s volleyball rout of Cal State Northridge last night:

6:30 p.m. — Beginning of warmups.

7:01 — Beginning of comedian Frank DeLima’s rendition of the national anthem.

7:08 — Beginning of the end or, more precisely, the introduction of the Warriors’ lineup.

From the first block to Costas Theocharidis’ aloha point off a pirouette move, the seventh-ranked Warriors were in control, sweeping the No. 13 Matadors for the second time in three nights at the Stan Sheriff Center.

The Warriors amassed 13 blocks and, three times, intimidated the Matadors into hitting return shots into the net. Left-side hitter Eyal Zimet had two solo blocks and six block assists. Even 6-foot-2 Kimo Tuyay made a solo rejection.

The Warriors stared down the Matadors, showing no cape fear. The Warriors made five hitting errors in 69 swings for a hitting percentage of .638. They hit at least .632 in each of the three games.

"When you hit smart, and have the power, the sky’s the limit," Zimet said.

The Matadors’ block appeared to be made of tissue. In a statistical anomaly, the Matadors did not have a block during the 85-minute match.

"Too bad for them," said Theocharidis, who had 20 kills (in 25 swings) and hit .720.

Said UH middle blocker Brenton Davis: "It seemed no matter where the block was, the ball seemed to find the floor. We just kind of had our way with them. There seemed to be a lot of daylight when we went up to attack the ball. It was kind of effortless."

Leading to the match, the Warriors had worried about a repeat of last week, in which they swept UC Santa Barbara and then, two nights later, lost in four games. But February, as the statewide television audience knows, is the month for sweeps, not reruns.

"We weren’t going to make the same mistake we made against Santa Barbara," Theocharidis said. "We said we were going to play well. We played well."

In Thursday’s match, the Matadors’ attack came largely from the outside hitters. This time, they tried to turn their offense outside-in in the first game, setting more to middle hitters Ryan Denlhan and Stan Douglas.

But the Warriors effectively positioned their blocks, and the Matadors’ offense eventually collapsed. Meanwhile, led by Theocharidis, the Warriors razed the Matadors’ roof.

"It’s kind of strange for a team to have no blocks," UH’s Davis said. "But sometimes you have nights like that."

UH received a boost from opposite hitter Torry Tukuafu, who did not play on Thursday because of a bruised left retina. He did not start last night, but still managed nine kills (in 14 swings) in the second and third games. He also proved to have fully recovered from the eye injury when he convinced a referee to overturn a no-tip call, resulting in a UH point.

The Warriors (8-2 overall, 4-1 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation) are scheduled to leave this morning for their first road trip. They practice in San Diego tonight, then play UC San Diego Tuesday and Long Beach State Thursday.

Northridge fell to 3-8 and 0-6.

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