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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, October 27, 2002

UH men getting ready for another great ride

By Leila Wai
Special to the Advertiser

The University of Hawai'i men's volleyball team offered a preview for its upcoming season by going back to the way it ended last year — on a trolley.

Team White's Delano Thomas goes up for a kill in the first game.

Eugene Tanner • The Honolulu Advertiser

Hawai'i, the defending national champions, held its "Block Party," an intrasquad scrimmage that allowed approximately 1,190 fans their first glimpse of the Warriors last night.

Team White defeated Team Black, 30-22, 20-30, 24-30, 30-25, 15-10 .

The Warriors rolled into the Stan Sheriff Center in a trolley similar to the one they rode in May when they took a victory ride around Downtown Honolulu.

Unfortunately, Cinderella's carriage turned into a pumpkin, as the Warriors discovered that during the six months since being crowned the 2002 National Champions in May, things got rusty.

Both teams began the night with negative hitting percentages — with errant passing leading to sets that either missed their targets or led to hitting errors. Team Black hit negative .040 and Team White negative .080 in game one.

"We actually have been practicing better than we played tonight," said coach Mike Wilton. "The first game was pretty ugly, but there were some good moments."

Team Black finished the night hitting .204, and Team White .159.

Costas Theocharidis got off a trolley in the Stan Sheriff Center during the Warriors’ “Block Party.”

Eugene Tanner • The Honolulu Advertiser

Team White was led by Delano Thomas' 23 kills, and Tony Ching's 16 kills. Team Black was led by All-American Costas Theocharidis with 23 kills, and Jose Delgado with 16 kills.

"This is more fun," Delgado said about playing in Hawai'i for the first time this season. "It is good to play in front of our crowd. We played hard; it was a five-set match, but we had fun."

Defense improved during the match, with both teams popping up and chasing down balls that appeared to be down. Junior Jake Muise led all passers with 16 digs.

"We've been practicing for three weeks, and it looks pretty good," Wilton said. "I think it is pretty obvious that we have a lot of depth this year."

Hawai'i defeated Pepperdine, 29-31, 31-29, 30-21, 30-24, to claim the national title.

"Last year is over, and we have a long way to go this year," Delgado said. "The team looks really strong this year and plays with a lot of chemistry and I think we are going to be there in the end."

The Warriors gave the fans a treat in between games two and three when newcomers Eric Kalima, Arri Jeschke, Matt Motter, Dio Dante, Pedro Azenha, Shaun Frederick and Joshua Stanheiser warmed up shirtless and wearing water polo swim caps, to promote a scrimmage taking place with the women's water polo team on Nov. 9.

"It was a lot of fun, I've never played in a crowd like this before and I had a good time," Motter said. "I love playing with these guys."

The most entertaining part of the night might have come when senior middle blocker Brian Nordberg — out for the fall after undergoing surgery on his right shoulder — took over announcing duties in game two.

"They told me my voice was pretty and that was the beginning of the end," he said.

Nordberg peppered the match with phrases such as "Puerto-Rican style," after a kill by Delgado, and "The Portuguese kill, more poisonous than a Portuguese Man-O-War" after Azehna's kill.

After Matt Bender followed up an ace with a service error, it was "Sorry Wonder Boy, not that time."

The Warriors will be hosting "The Night of the Warrior" on Nov. 1, an event that features an Alumni-Alumni match, the annual Alumni-Warriors match, and the official presentation of the team's NCAA Championship rings.

Team White: Kimo Tuyay, Eyal Zimet, Eric Kalima, Arri Jeschke, Tony Ching, Matt Motter, Dio Dante and Delano Thomas.

Team Black: Pedro Azenha, Jake Muise, Jose Delgado, Costas Theocharidis, Matt Bender, Ryan Woodward, Daniel Rasay and Joshua Stanheiser.