Warrior volleyball player to sit 4 matches
By Stephen Tsai
Advertiser Staff Writer
Outside hitter Pedro Azenha will miss the University of Hawai'i volleyball team's first four matches of the coming season because of his participation in an international tournament.
UH coach Mike Wilton said the NCAA's ruling was expected. Azenha, a 6-foot-4 freshman from Brazil, will be eligible to return for the Jan. 18 match against Shanghai Oriental on the final night of the Outrigger Invitational.
Azenha was used in the middle during the recently completed fall camp because of an injury to Brian Nordberg and the departures of Dejan Miladinovic and JoJo Chala. Miladinovic completed his college eligibility in May, and Chala decided to focus on his studies and music career this year.
Azenha's absence will leave the Warriors undermanned at outside hitter for matches against Lewis, Ball State and Penn State. Jose Delgado, a part-time starter last year, will redshirt.
"Jose had a really good fall, but we have a logjam over there," Wilton said, referring to senior outside hitters Costas Theocharidis, Eyal Zimet and Tony Ching. "It's going to be touchy the first four matches with Pedro out. If something happens to somebody, Jose would be the obvious guy to put in. But we want to redshirt him, so we will have a four-match stretch where we will be a little thin."
Wilton said libero Brendan Velasco, who redshirted last season, will transfer to a small college in California.
Wilton said freshmen Dio Dante of Maui High and Eric Kalima of the Kamehameha Schools will redshirt this season. Dante is a middle blocker and Kalima is a libero.
Wilton said the Warriors played well during fall camp. "I'd say Eyal had his best fall," Wilton said. "He was injury free and stronger. He was hitting the ball really well."
Wilton predicted that sophomore middle blocker Delano Thomas "is on the verge of having a real breakout year. We couldn't do anything with him as far as stopping him."
Wilton said 6-foot-9 Josh Stanhiser, who was a member of UH's basketball team last season, "did better than expected. If we played tonight, he starts, although Brian (Nordberg), who rehabbed all fall, will have something to say about that when we start practicing again."