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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, April 9, 2002

UH, UCLA exchange verbal volleys

By Stephen Tsai
Advertiser Staff Writer

"If wishes were candy and nuts, we'd all have a great Christmas. Who cares."

Mike Wilton
UH men's volleyball coach

"We could have beaten them with a full squad, but we didn't have that."

Al Scates
UCLA men's volleyball coach

Advertiser library photos

Days after the University of Hawai'i completed a two-match volleyball sweep of UCLA, the teams still were volleying verbal shots.

"Stop whining," UH middle blocker Dejan Miladinovic said after learning of the Bruins' published complaints yesterday.

The Bruins were without injured outside hitter Jonathan Acosta and quick hitter Scott Morrow in consecutive losses to the Warriors last weekend at the Stan Sheriff Center. The Daily Bruin, UCLA's student newspaper, quoted UCLA coach Al Scates as saying, "We could have beaten them with a full squad, but we didn't have that."

After reading Scates' comments, UH coach Mike Wilton said: "If wishes were candy and nuts, we'd all have a great Christmas. Who cares. Whatever."

Said UH outside hitter Eyal Zimet: "There are a lot of 'ifs' during the course of a season for every team. They can say what they want. I think we can beat them with a full squad, anyway. It doesn't matter. It's all words. I seriously don't care what they say."

UH outside hitter Tony Ching added: "I'm used to it by now. I've been here for three years and that's all they do. It's a victory for us. It's in our pockets. That's all that matters. ... It's just their mind games. They're a great team, but they play a lot of psychological games."

In the story, Scates defended his decision not to use middle hitter Chris Pena in the first two games of the second match and to give playing time to all of his freshmen.

"Now we're familiar with their tendencies," he told the Daily Bruin. "They haven't seen our game plan — the one I'll use in the playoffs. That's when it really matters."

Said Miladinovic: "UCLA is arrogant as usual. ... My reply is, even with a full squad, that won't help them. The middle (Paul Johnson) who replaced Morrow played well. I don't think Morrow would play any better. Yes, they didn't have Acosta. But they lost so badly and we played well. I don't think Acosta would help them, maybe three points per game more. I don't think anybody could have beaten us on that night."

In describing the atmosphere Saturday night, Scates said, "They had 8,000 people in the stands and five Samoan warriors with spears running around."

It was a reference to "The Warrior" — entertainer Vili Fehoko — and his four sons, ages 5, 10, 13 and 14.

"We are not Samoan," the 6-foot-1, 292-pound Fehoko said. Fehoko is Tongan and his wife, Linda Lee Fehoko, is Fijian.

"We're original warriors," he added. "And we don't carry spears. We have drum sticks. ... Even though we didn't go on the UCLA side, I guess they were intimidated by us. Maybe we played a part in bringing the energy."

Theocharidis honored: The American Volleyball Coaches Association named outside hitter Costas Theocharidis as the national player of the week. Theocharidis, a junior from Greece, averages 6.14 kills, 0.71 blocks and 1.0 digs per game against UCLA.