By Ann Miller
Advertiser Staff Writer
Saying she is not "closing the door" completely on returning, Veronica Lima has told the University of Hawai'i Wahine volleyball staff that she will probably not be back.
Lima returned to her home in Belo Horizonte following the Wahines appearance in Decembers final four. At that time, she admitted she was ready to get on with her life, possibly on the Brazilian national team or with a professional team.
Yesterday, Lima said from home that she already missed Hawaii and plans to "postpone this final decision as long as I can." But she told coaches Dave Shoji and Charlie Wade she is "almost sure I will be staying home" so they could make plans without her.
"If something changes drastically in the next couple of months and I decide to go back to Hawaii to play my senior year, then I dont think they will have a problem with it," Lima said. "It would be worse if I told them I would come back and at the end say no."
Lima spoke warmly of Hawaii, recalling her first UH essay about "the wonderful feelings I had since the first time I entered the arena."
"I will forever keep those moments in my heart and think of them with love and care," Lima said. "I hope that no matter what I decide, I will never lose the respect of Hawaiis volleyball fans. In Hawaii, I found love, care, appreciation. I found myself. I will always think of it as my second home and I will for sure return many times."
In Limas three seasons, the Wahine were 92-7 and went to three NCAA regionals and the final four. Along with Jessica Sudduth one of three seniors UH lost Lima was the teams primary ballhandler. The 6-foot-2 middle blocker is among the schools top 10 in all blocking statistics, and aces. She was named 2000 West Regional MVP after lifting the Wahine to wins over Long Beach State and UC-Santa Barbara. Lima earned all-WAC honors her last two years.
Hawaii has accepted an invitation to open its season at the State Farm Womens Volleyball Classic. Also in the field are Nebraska and Wisconsin who played in the NCAA final and host Pacific. The Wahines regular season will begin and end in Stockton, Calif., with State Farm Aug. 24-25 and UOPs Bankers Classic Nov. 23-24.
SHORT SETS: All of UHs 10 nonconference home opponents played in the 2000 NCAA Championship, including USC, Brigham Young, UCSB, Santa Clara and Cincinnati, which is coached by Hilos Reed Sunahara. ... The opening match at Stan Sheriff Center will be Aug. 31, against Kansas State, in the Hawaiian Airlines Wahine Classic. ... The WAC Tournament will return after a two-year absence Nov. 15-18 at a yet-to-be determined site.
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