Warriors sweep up 49ers in volleyball
The University of Hawai'i men's volleyball team punctuated a seemingly endless road trip with a 30-19, 30-27, 30-27 sweep of Long Beach State last night in the Pyramid in Long Beach, Calif.
In improving to 8-2 overall and 4-2 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation, the Warriors swept a road series against the 49ers (7-5 and 3-4) for the first time in school history.
UH outside hitter Costas Theocharidis and setter Kimo Tuyay also made history. Theocharidis, a 6-foot-3 senior, tied the school record with his 100th ace, the second of two for him last night. Tuyay, a junior, surpassed the 3,000-assist mark for a career.
This 10-day road trip equaled, in time, the exhibition tour of Shanghai last November.
"This trip seems way longer," UH coach Mike Wilton said.
His feelings were relative to the Warriors' three-game loss to UC Irvine last Saturday. That was UH's only loss during this four-match trip.
"From 5 p.m. Saturday until game time Wednesday (for the first match against the 49ers) was like three months to me," Wilton said. "It just took forever. We didn't put our best foot forward (last Saturday). Coaches kind of stew and fret when that happens. You're anxious to play another contest."
In Wednesday's four-game victory over the 49ers, the Warriors solved their problems passing.
Last night's objective was to avoid a letdown that has hindered the Warriors in the back half of a two-match series. The Warriors lost the second match in each of their previous two-match series this year, and they have struggled in the third game of matches. UH has lost 10 games this year, and five have come in Game 3.
"We wanted to make sure we took care of business," Wilton said.
The Warriors did so in Game 1, despite a minor injury to outside hitter Tony Ching, who left with a tweaked right ankle.
Ching returned in Game 2, when the Warriors blew an 18-13 lead, falling behind, 25-24.
Wilton pulled Tuyay, who was misleading outside hitters with wide sets, then brought him back after Daniel Rasay struggled.
"We squandered a huge lead," Wilton said. "That wasn't pleasing to me."
But the Warriors scored six of the final eight points to win Game 2, then seized control of the final game.
Theocharidis led the Warriors with 16 kills, and middle hitters Delano Thomas and Joshua Stanhiser combined for 15 kills.
Stanhiser, a 6-foot-10 junior who was a member of the UH men's basketball team last season, is adjusting to the speed of NCAA volleyball.
"He played a nice match," Wilton said of Stanhiser, whose parents made the short drive from Loma Linda, Calif. "He's getting there. He's coming along with his read blocking."
Stanhiser had seven kills in 10 swings (no hitting errors), assisted on three blocks and made a solo rejection.
The Warriors also benefitted from the 49ers' 24 hitting errors and 14 service mistakes.
The Warriors depart today, and will take off the rest of the weekend. They return to practice Monday in preparation for matches against Cal State Northridge Thursday and Friday.