Friday, January 5, 2001
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Posted on: Friday, January 5, 2001

Warriors plan to start freshman at setter

2001 University of Hawaii Warriors Volleyball Schedule

By Stephen Tsai
Advertiser Staff Writer

Like most freshmen from the Mainland, University of Hawaii volleyball player Kimo Tuyay navigated the double obstacle of homesickness and college shock.

Kimo Tuyay, 18, will be the youngest starting setter in Mike Wilton’s nine seasons as Hawaii head coach.

Eugene Tanner • The Honolulu Advertiser

UH’s enrollment of 16,000 is 40 times greater than his San Diego high school’s.

There were 150 students in his economics class last semester. "I don’t know if we had an assembly that big (in high school)," he said.

UH averaged more than 6,000 volleyball fans per home match last season; in high school, he never played before a crowd larger than 500.

But Tuyay now appears to be comfortable, a transition that was eased partially by an unlikely source — Gov. Ben Cayetano.

Tuyay’s father, Jim, a UH graduate, once worked on Cayetano’s staff. Last fall, Jim, who was visiting from San Diego, and Kimo met several times with Cayetano, who offered advice and friendship.

"When I came out here, I didn’t know too many people," Tuyay said. "But if I know the governor, I think I’ll be all right."

Now, it is Tuyay who is counted on to provide the helping hand. Three months past his 18th birthday, Tuyay was handed the keys to the Warriors’ offense. For tomorrow night’s match against the UH alumni at Stan Sheriff Center, Tuyay will be the youngest starting setter in Mike Wilton’s nine seasons as UH head coach.

UH-Alumni men’s volleyball matches

Tomorrow at Stan Sheriff Center

Alumni vs. alumni, 5 p.m.; UH vs. alumni, 7 p.m.

Tickets: $12 (lower level, Super Rooter guest), $9 (upper level), $8 (senior section), $7 (Super Rooter), $6 (UH students, ages 4 through high school)

Wilton awards leadership roles to true freshmen seemingly as often as UH changes nicknames. But Wilton said Tuyay’s skills are "special," and his Cub Scout looks belie his bearish competitiveness.

By the end of fall training, Tuyay was consistently teeing no-spinners as well as custom-fitting sets to a hitter’s cravings. Most of all, he was able to blend into a team steeped in experience.

"He causes no friction at all," Wilton said. "I’ve always felt a setter needs to be very diplomatic — my fault,’ that kind of stuff."

Said Tuyay: "I’m still trying to earn my respect. I’m trying to work hard and learn as much as I can."

To be sure, Tuyay entered UH with an impressive history. He was a Junior Olympics All-America player in 1999 and 2000. As a Parker High senior, he was named San Diego Section player of the year.

Tuyay entered UH with high expectations, but tried to remain focused. He struggled early, but was clearly the team’s best setter by the end of fall camp.

"When you look at him, you think, Puppy,’" Wilton said. "But he has physical ability. Mentally, he makes plays. He does a good job of running the offense. He has good hands, (his sets have) good location."

Wilton also said Tuyay has the backing of his teammates. "Face it, he was put in control of a very good sports car," Wilton said.

"I have a close-knit family, and it’s difficult being away from home," Tuyay said. "But the guys on the team make it seem just like home. They’re helping me have fun here."

2001 University of Hawaii Warriors Volleyball Schedule


Tomorrow-UH Alumni-Alumni Match, 5 p.m.; UH Alumni-Varsity Match, 7 p.m. 10-Lewis. 1. 12-Lewis. 14-Lewis vs. Laval, 2 p.m. 17-19-Outrigger Hotels Invitational (Wednesday-UCLA vs. Laval, 4:30 p.m.; Penn State vs. Hawaii, 7 p.m. Thursday-UCLA vs. Penn State, 4:30 p.m.; Laval vs. Hawaii (exhibition), 7 p.m. Friday-Penn State vs. Laval, 4:30 p.m.; UCLA vs. Hawaii, 7 p.m.). 25-*Pacific. 27-Pacific. 31-*UC Santa Barbara.


2-*UC Santa Barbara. 8-*Cal State Northridge. 10-*Cal State Northridge. 13-*at UC San Diego. 15-*at Long Beach State.


2-*Stanford. 3-Stanford. 9-*Pepperdine. 10-*Pepperdine. 16-*USC. 17-California (exhibition). 23-Arizona (exhibition). 24-Arizona (exhibition). 28-*at UC-Irvine. 29-*at UCLA. 30-*at UCLA. 31-at UC-Irvine.


6-Alberta (exhibition). 7-Alberta (exhibition). 13-*at BYU. 14-*at BYU. 21-MPSF First Round (at TBA). 26-MPSF Semifinals (at TBA). 28-MPSF Championship (at TBA).


3-NCAA Semifinals at Long Beach, Calif. 5-NCAA Championship at Long Beach, Calif.

*-Mountain Pacific Sports Federation match

All home matches begin at 7 p.m. at Stan Sheriff Center, unless noted.

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