Warriors dealing with bad breaks
By Stephen Tsai
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Stephen Tsai
Reserve middle blocker Kyle Klinger might miss the rest of the University of Hawai'i's volleyball season because of a broken big toe on his right foot, UH coach Mike Wilton announced yesterday.
Meanwhile, middle blocker Dio Dante, who is second nationally with 1.66 blocks per game, said he suffered a broken pinkie on his right hand during yesterday's practice.
"It won't keep me from playing," Dante said, "but it'll be another thing on my mind. It's going to be painful. ... As a middle blocker, I'm touching a lot of (shots). It's going to (hit the pinkie), and I know it's going to happen, and I know when it does, it's going to hurt really bad."
Dante said he suffered a similar injury two years ago. "I'm pretty (ticked) off about it right now," he said. "I don't need it."
Dante placed his right pinkie in a bucket of ice for 20 minutes after yesterday's practice. "I'm going to put a splint on it, tape it up and hope for the best," he said.
Klinger's outlook is more pessimistic. He suffered the injury during Tuesday's practice. Yesterday, his right foot was in a boot brace.
Wilton said he did not know the timetable for Klinger's rehabilitation, but "he's not going to travel" with the team this weekend. The Warriors will play four matches in six nights in Northern California, beginning Saturday against Pacific.
Wilton said Klinger will not be replaced on the 13-player travel roster.
Klinger started the first six matches before ceding the job to Mauli'a LaBarre. Since then, the Warriors have won 12 of 13 matches. Two weeks ago, Jake Schkud, a converted outside hitter, was promoted to the top reserve middle blocker.
Still, Klinger remained as a valuable practice player.
"We're going to miss him," Schkud said. "Dragon (redshirt Matt Rawson) can only do so much. He doesn't really have college experience, and Kyle has. I don't know how it's going to affect us on the road. It's always good to have that extra person on the bench."
Matt Carere, the floor captain, said: "Any time you lose a guy, it's tough on the team. He's an older guy. He brings a lot of leadership. he's one of my good friends, so I like to have him around. He's a good guy to have on the floor. But you know what? He's helping us in other ways."
Klinger joined the Warriors last season after completing a stint in the Air Force. This season, he averaged 1.86 kills and 0.82 blocks per game.
"He's a good guy," Dante said. "He's everybody's friend, for sure. We're going to miss him. It was a pretty bad break. Hopefully, he can bounce back."
Reach Stephen Tsai at email@example.com.