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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, September 20, 2001

Wahine say it's time to move on

By Ann Miller
Advertiser Staff Writer

Santa Clara is here, ranked 20th and ready to play volleyball with 12th-ranked University of Hawai'i tomorrow and Saturday. But nothing will be quite the same. The result seems less important, while the action will be more therapeutic than technical.

"We can stop thinking about what's going on and start doing what we love," Wahine Melissa Villaroman said. "Out there playing and having fun with the crowd and seeing happy faces. . . . and knowing we're fortunate to be here."

UH coach Dave Shoji believes his 4-4 team needs the distraction this match can provide: "We need to move on. I want to play, get back to our routine."

But, Shoji admits: "Things are different. I'd been shouldering the burden of being .500 at this point in the season. After last week, it's like . . . that should not have been the only thing on my mind."

Santa Clara coach Jon Wallace said his team's excitement about coming to Hawai'i seemed to overcome its fear of flying. The strange calm of San Francisco airport also helped alleviate concerns.

The Broncos (7-1) arrived at SFO three hours before their flight, waited in line 2 1/2 hours and never complained. Wallace said they sensed safety amid the new controls and atmosphere. No cars loitered outside, no people inside.

Many teams held meetings soon after the terrorist attacks. Fresno State coach Lindy Vivas said her players "needed to be with each other, express their fear and questions."

Shoji also encouraged his players to speak out the first time they were back together.

The most articulate was 21-year-old sophomore Maja Gustin, who speaks English as a fifth language. "She's seen war and what it does to people," Shoji said. "It was very moving."

It was a plea for peace, and hope that "America will start the world in a new way — not hate," Gustin said.

Gustin, from Maribor, Slovenia, grew up while Yugoslavia was breaking up. Her father died "not in the war, but because of it." She said it took her three years before she could finally forgive.

"It is so hard because you are trying to find your way," she said yesterday. "When you forgive, you can feel free, and you can give love, and accept love. But the hardest thing is to be patient. It takes a long, long time.

"When the war was over there, a lot of innocent people died. The thing that happened here was the same, innocent people died. And right now, everybody hates. It goes in a circle. People kill over there, not just Yugoslavia, everywhere. People think the solution is killing and punishment, and it will solve things now, but not for the future. For this moment it's OK. You kill somebody, he won't kill you back. But in the future, it will come back, always. It goes in a circle.

"We should start changing this world with love because just love can save us."

Spring in the air: Coach Dave Shoji is hoping two of his most prominent missing Wahine — Lily Kahumoku and Jennifer Saleaumua — will be enrolled at UH in January.

Shoji said he is in touch with Kahumoku weekly. "She has expressed a desire to come back in the spring, but nothing is for sure," Shoji said of his All-American, who is red-shirting in her third year.

Kahumoku would need to pass 24 units in the spring and summer to be eligible next fall.

Shoji is still trying to talk with Saleaumua about her plans. Saleaumua, the national high school player of the year in 2000, remains in California. According to her aunt and high school coach — former Wahine Carolyn Taeatafa-Hudson — Saleaumua is still trying to qualify to play for a Division I school.

Taeatafa said her niece, who committed to UH during the early signing period last year, is now looking at other schools. Shoji wants her in Manoa.

"We're still hoping she comes here," he said yesterday.

• WAC warmup: Nevada provided a stunning sneak peek into the Western Athletic Conference season Tuesday when it swept seventh-ranked Pacific, 30-28, 30-21, 30-18, in Reno.

It was the Wolf Pack's first victory over UOP since 1976. Nevada coach Devin Scruggs, who played for UOP, had not won a game off the Tigers in four previous matches, since taking over at Nevada in 1997.

"They totally came in unprepared for us," Scruggs said. "I was completely prepared for how they would be. I knew because I used to play there and we would overlook a team like Nevada. That's what they did."

The Pack broke from a 27-all tie in Game 1, but took control early in Game 2 — scoring seven straight to move ahead 18-11— and Game 3, which it led 15-2. Nevada junior Michelle More had a match-high 15 kills. The Pack out-hit the poor-passing Tigers, .308-to-.143.

Nevada and Tulsa open the WAC season tonight in Reno. Boise State is at San Jose State Friday and Fresno State Saturday. Hawai'i plays its first conference match, and first game in Ruston, next Saturday at Louisiana Tech.

QUICK SETS: Spectators at this weekend's matches will find increased security measures at Stan Sheriff Center. All large bags will be subject to search, with UH discouraging people from bringing them. To accommodate anticipated delays, arena doors will open at 5:30 p.m. . . . Fresno State's student-athletes and coaches helped raise at least $100,000 Friday in a fund drive for the American Red Cross.