UH, BYU will take show on the road
BY Stephen Tsai
In a volleyball rivalry so big it cannot be contained to one island, Hawai'i and Brigham Young will play matches tomorrow night in the Stan Sheriff Center and Saturday in Maui's War Memorial Gym.
"It's going to be a different experience, for sure," UH left-side hitter Joshua Walker said of the unique arrangement.
As the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation's non-California members, instead of playing home-and-home league series, UH and BYU always play consecutive matches against the same opponent to maximize the travel value.
To spice this series, as well as showcase the Warriors to their Valley Isle fans, it was decided to take Saturday's match on the road. The move essentially means both teams will have to formulate separate game plans. War Memorial Gym has less floor space than the Stan Sheriff Center.
"It's good that we practice in Gym I," UH libero Ric Cervantes said of the practice facility that does not have bleachers. "We get the experience of a smaller gym and a bigger one."
Walker said: "As long as there's a court, we'll play anywhere. We don't care about the size, as long as it's loud."
After four matches over two weekends against non-conference opponents — Canada's Alberta and the NAIA's Hope International — the Warriors resume MPSF competition. Of the three NCAA Division I-II conferences, the MPSF is the strongest.
"I guess you can compare it to the Big East in basketball," Walker said. "(The Big East's) top teams are always ranked, no matter if they have more losses than other teams. Everybody knows the type of competition we go through in the MPSF. Every team in our league is a good team."
The Warriors used the four non-league matches to work on their block and back-row defense. They might receive a boost if middle blocker Steven Grgas, who has missed eight matches because of a fracture in his right hand, is available.
Cervantes, who is the Warriors' best passer, will play regardless of his health problems. Cervantes has a sore right shoulder, sore left quadriceps and injured right Achilles' heel.
"It is what it is," Cervantes said. "I have to play through it."