UH volleyball team working on finishing touch
By Stephen Tsai
Before a crucial series against Brigham Young in two weeks, the Hawai'i volleyball team will work on Hope and promise.
"The next (four matches) might not count, but they're important to us," UH left-side hitter Joshua Walker said.
The Warriors play exhibition matches against Alberta of Canada tomorrow and Saturday, and non-conference matches against the NAIA's Hope International next weekend.
This will be a rare side trip from the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation schedule.
"It will give us a chance to peel back some layers, and look at different things," UH head coach Charlie Wade said.
The Warriors are coming off consecutive losses to UCLA, matches in which the outcomes turned because of untimely letdowns.
"The only things we didn't do were finish off those matches," Walker said. "We played really consistent and well during those matches. But they played better. That happens. We have to make sure that when we play that well, we finish off the match."
Yesterday, Wade allowed team leaders to choose which areas to emphasize. They unanimously chose defense.
"Our main focus is blocking and floor defense," said libero Ric Cervantes, the acknowledged team captain. "We're not blocking enough balls, that's for sure. And, at times, we're not picking up enough (digs). The focus for this week is defense."
For the fourth consecutive match, the Warriors will open with this lineup: Cervantes, setter Nejc Zemljak, left-side hitters Walker and Steven Hunt, opposite attacker Jonas Umlauft, and middle blockers Matt "Dragon" Rawson and Brennon Dyer.
But Wade said he also would like to give extended playing time to backup setter Sam Morehouse, outside hitters Gus Tuaniga, Ernie Vidinha and Joe Strotman, and middle blocker Jared Lofy.
"There's no question we'd like to get other guys playing time over the next couple of weeks," Wade said.
Wade was able to use Strotman and Morehouse during the UCLA series.
"I thought that was pretty good," Wade said. "It was a little spurt. They came in and did some nice stuff. It would be nice to get them a little more extended time."
The Warriors most likely will have to wait at least another week for middle blocker Steven Grgas.
Grgas missed the UC Irvine and UCLA series because of a fracture on the side of the pinkie on his right (hitting) hand. The injury did not require surgery. He wears a splint on the pinkie, which is wrapped to the ring finger for support.
"I'm resting it," Grgas said. "I should be back to normal soon."
Grgas said he is able to pass and set.
"They say another week and I should be able to start hitting," Grgas said. "Hopefully, I'll be back in another week."
INGRAM AT SPEED CLINIC
Jake Ingram, a former UH long-snapper now with the New England Patriots, will be the featured instructor at Saturday's Hawai'i Speed and Quickness clinic at the UH athletic complex.
Sessions are from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. Each session is $10.
For details, call (808) 228-8447 or go to www.hawaiispeedandquickness.com.