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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, October 30, 2002

Warriors will play alumni in volleyball

By Stephen Tsai
Advertiser Staff Writer

The University of Hawai'i men's volleyball team will ring in its championship era with Friday's "Alumni Night" in the Stan Sheriff Center.

Before the 7 p.m. match between UH and an alumni team, the members of last season's NCAA championship team will receive their commemorative rings during an elaborate ceremony.

"They're big, huge and clunky," UH coach Mike Wilton said of the rings. The NCAA limits the cost of each ring to $300; Wilton said 36 rings were ordered for players, coaches and staff members.

The players and staff actually received their rings last month. "They were so anxious, we couldn't keep them away," Wilton said. "We're going to take (the rings) back, for a little bit, put them in boxes and present them again."

Last year's two seniors, middle blocker Dejan Miladinovic and libero Vernon Podlewski, will attend the ceremony as members of the alumni team. Jeff Gleason, Marvin Yamada and Kyle Denitz are no longer with the UH program, but they have been invited to participate in the ring ceremony. Brendan Velasco is on family leave.

An exhibition match between two alumni teams begins at 5 p.m. Proceeds for the event, which is sponsored by the booster club, will help pay for the summer school tuition for UH student-athletes.

The Warriors also will benefit from their first test in live-game situations. Last week, they staged an intrasquad match, but Friday's match will allow Wilton to work on substitutions and rotations.

Wilton projects a starting lineup of outside hitters Costas Theocharidis, Eyal Zimet and Tony Ching; middle blockers Delano Thomas and Josh Stanhiser; setter Kimo Tuyay, and libero Matt Motter. "That could always change," Wilton said.

Tuyay, apparently, has recovered from a torn thumb ligament that prevented him from playing last week.

Wilton said Motter, a freshman from San Diego, has scored high in passing drills. "He has a lot of talent for the game," Wilton said. "He needs experience, and he's a freshman who sometimes acts like one, but we feel he'll get a lot better with reps."

Wilton said the 6-foot-4 Motter, who lost 25 pounds during fall training and now weighs 205, also can play outside hitter and setter.

Wilton said the NCAA, which is double-checking the backgrounds of international players, has cleared Theocharidis, Zimet and outside hitter Jose Delgado. Wilton said it has not been determined if outside hitter Pedro Azenha of Brazil competed in any tournaments against professionals. If so, he would have to sit out the same number of matches he played against pros. Wilton said he will not play Azenha, even in exhibitions, until a ruling is issued.