Rawson playing with pain
BY Stephen Tsai
Hawai'i volleyball player Matt "Dragon" Rawson has a bruised femur in his right leg, but will be available on a pain-threshold basis for this weekend's crucial road matches.
"It's pretty much what he can endure," UH head coach Charlie Wade said of Rawson, who was limited to a designated-blocker role in this past Saturday's match against Long Beach State.
Tomorrow and Saturday nights, the Warriors play Pepperdine, which is tied for first place in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation.
Pepperdine and Stanford are 10-4. UH and Brigham Young are tied for fourth at 10-6, although the Warriors hold the tie-breaker.
Eight teams qualify for the MPSF tournament, with the top four serving as opening-round hosts.
Rawson was included in the UH travel party, which departed yesterday afternoon. He is one of the Warriors' best middle blockers.
"I don't think we're getting better with him out of the lineup," Wade said.
But Wade has expressed confidence in Brennon Dyer, who has played in Rawson's absence. Earlier, Dyer started in the middle while Steven Grgas was recovering from a fracture in his right hand.
"Brennon's done a nice job," Wade said. "He did a nice job blocking Saturday night."
At about 6 feet 4, Dyer would be considered under-sized for a middle. But he has long arms and, during team testing, he touched 11 feet 7.
Dyer credits his jumping ability to past summer activities in Santa Barbara, Calif. He would speed-pedal his bicycle to the beach, where he would play volleyball in the sand for up to six hours a day.
His versatility came from playing outside hitter and opposite attacker during his first three UH years. Often summoned as a serving specialist, Dyer is used to entering without much preparation.
"The mental part is you have to be ready," Dyer said. "It's not an option of, 'Can you do this?' You have to do it. But are you going to do it well or not?"
Meanwhile, Rawson is hopeful that his treatment — ice packs and anti-inflammatory medicine — prove to be helpful.
"I'm just trying to strengthen it," Rawson said. "There's not much I can do. I'm feeling better. It's getting better every day. I want to contribute in some way."