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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, January 10, 2002

UH digs deep, sweeps past Loyola-Chicago

By Stephen Tsai
Advertiser Staff Writer

Who says there are no do-overs in men's volleyball?

Hawai'i's Costas Theocharidis took aim at the Loyola-Chicago defense during last night's match.

Gregory Yamamoto • The Honolulu Advertiser

Rebounding from the false start of Tuesday's season-opening loss, the University of Hawai'i produced a 30-28, 30-24, 30-20 rout of Loyola-Chicago last night in the Stan Sheriff Center.

A gathering of 2,878 saw the Warriors solve the riddle of the Ramblers' interior offense to win the rematch.

"It was a matter of time, you know," said outside hitter Costas Theocharidis, who led the Warriors with 16 kills. "We were kind of anxious the first night. We had to relieve the stress. I think winning helps relieve the stress."

Tuesday night, Loyola middle hitters Shawn Schroeder and Dan Haas combined for 28 kills and five blocks. Last night, they had eight kills and one block.

"We looked tired, and I'm not sure why," Loyola coach Gordon Mayforth said. "I think the first night was very emotional for us, maybe more emotional than I had counted on."

The Ramblers turned to Brad Stoub, who had 24 kills and took 48 of the Ramblers' 112 swings. But Stoub was no match for the Warriors' energized defense, and Stoub committed five hitting errors in the third game.

"It's easier to set up for one guy than for a bunch of guys," UH libero Vernon Podlewski said.

Said Mayforth: "We couldn't get anybody else going. Some of the other guys were tired or flat."

Meanwhile, the Warriors were antsy. "(Tuesday) night, I didn't sleep at all," UH outside hitter Tony Ching said. "We had a lot to prove."

Yesterday afternoon, the Warriors spent 1 hour, 40 minutes reviewing videotape of the first match. They noticed that 6-foot-9 Schroeder and 6-8 Haas hit medium-speed shots to the corners, and that Stoub and Justin Schnor often looped from the back row to launch crossing shots. The Warrior diggers protected the corners on sets to the Loyola middle hitters and assembled double and triple blocks on sets to Stoub and Schnor.

The strategies worked, as UH amassed 14.5 blocks (compared to Loyola's two) and three times Stoub was rejected.

UH setter Kimo Tuyay also distributed the sets — Ching had 11 kills and hit .429; middle hitter Dejan Miladinovic had eight kills in 12 swings — and contributed four kills. Once, despite a 7-inch disadvantage, the 6-2 Tuyay outjumped Schroeder for a point.

"We wanted to come out and bang-bang-bang," Tuyay said. "I think from now on, we just don't want to play volleyball, we want to play our volleyball. We want to be aggressive."

Ching, who was benched midway through Tuesday's match because of ineffective play, played with controlled rage.

"It's a matter of focusing," he said, speaking about himself and the Warriors. "We're really confident, and sometimes we get over-confident. When we're in check, when everybody's ego is in check and we're focused, we're a very good team."

Unlike the first match, Wilton substituted once last night, allowing Jake Muise to serve in place of Miladinovic. Muise responded with an ace.

Wilton also said freshman Delano Thomas has replaced middle blocker Brian Nordberg, a transfer from UC Santa Barbara, as a starter.

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