Sunday, February 3, 2008

Gotta Keep Movin’

Well, nothing ever seems very important when one’s in mourning but life continues for me and so move I must.

I’ve got a lot to catch up on, especially… UH WARRIOR VOLLEYBALL! I’ve so wanted to write about it and things happened, I’ve already talked about those goings on in previous entries.

Let’s see, season started off with the Outrigger Invitational here in Hawai‘i. Three nights, UH went up against Penn State at the top of the EIVA, Ball State- currently tied for third with IPFW in the MIVA Feb, and UCLA- currently third in the MPSF. UH started the pre-season at eighth I believe and are now currently 13th in the MPSF. Not to despair, the MPSF is the toughest conference in men’s collegiate volleyball; there are no guarantees. There is no counting someone out.

I can’t really report on the Outrigger because I was barely conscious, read And the Tooth Has Set Me Free. I’ve got the matches on tape, but just haven’t gotten to watch them yet and don’t know that I’ll ever have time to go back to them. I did watch the match against UCLA but I was at about 75%. We lost to Penn and UCLA but won against Ball, so not too bad.

When I caught the UCLA match, I couldn’t get over how I could recognize the UCLA players more readily than the UH players. Last season, UH graduated Beckwith, Dante, Hakala and Kalima, all starters so that’s about half the starting lineup. Then at the beginning of this season, UH fans were dealt a blow when it was announced that Vanzant would not be playing this season, I didn’t come across a reason why, I just hope that he’s doing alright in his life. I was really looking forward to seeing Vanzant develop more this season into one of the kill leaders for UH. So that is now 5 of 7 starters out from last season. That left Rawson at middle and Cervantes at libero. It had been announced early that Klinger, MB from the 2005/2006 season, would not be playing at all this season. Maybe I missed him but I didn’t see Vidinha who had seen some play time last season. Of all seasons for about the last fifteen years, this is undoubtedly a rebuilding year for UH. Not an excuse for losing games, but winning won’t be easy by any means.

Hawaii’s trying to build upon Sean Carney, who backed up Beckwith at setter the last two years and is almost as good, but could also help out on the left side if needed. Wilton’s already tested Carney at hitter this season and he’s good. Carney’s other positives is that he’s got a real good serve; he was #1 serving specialist while backing up Beckwith and racked up a lot of aces. His serve is tough and he rarely makes a service error.

Co-captain with Carney is Schkud, the lone senior on the team. He’s seen very little play in previous seasons, somewhat of a utility player, having been tried on the left, the middle and as a serving specialist. Back in 2003, Beckwith and Schkud led their high school team to an undefeated season, a CIF title and the Volleyball magazine’s high school championship [Starbulletin article on Beckwith and Schkud]. And so he is very capable of contributing great things for this team and is already proving so in this early part of the season.

I’m also excited to see what Jim Clar will do this season. Clar filled in when Hakala was hurt last season. So that is Cervantes, Clar, Schkud, and Carney, with Rawson. Oh, Rawson, I didn’t recognize him. Last season, he had long curly hair. This season, cut very short. Leahey said, ‘Rawson with the block’ or something like that and I thought, where? Rawson and Cervantes, the only returning starters from last season. The others had seen limited play but are stepping up to lead this season. The rest of the depth chart for Hawai‘i, I’m still trying to familiarize myself with their names and faces pretty much.

Contrast that to UCLA who has incredible Tony Ker at libero, his younger brother Kevin fighting Matt Wade for setter, hitters O’Malley, Muagututia [spelling?], and Ratelle, with ‘quick hitter’ [as Scates calls his middles] Diefenbach. I often get confused on who are the returning starters because UCLA’s bench is always deep with Scates not afraid to switch people out. But those are the players, whether on court or on the sidelines, that I can readily recognize and name. I’m even familiar with former players Wenger and Klosterman who are now assistant coaches for UCLA.
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After Outrigger, Hawai‘i fought Long Beach and UC San Diego. I watched the matches against LBSU, but I can’t recall details at this moment except that they swept us the first night and then took it in four the second night, LBSU that is. Otherwise, I think we played pretty well against them, not enough to win, but good. We won the matches with UCSD. UCSD put up a good fight and it was expected. They always play well with no scholarship players, they proved that when they beat UC Irvine the previous week in convincing fashion, that’s hardly said in the MPSF but they did. I passed up watching the second match in order to have dinner with Mirrorman, my nickname for Chris A. He cooked, so I had to put him above the volleyball but don’t count on that happening too much. I’m kidding, sort of. And we watched ‘Miracle’ which I hadn’t seen yet but have been wanting to. I love sports movies.

Anyways, moving on. UH is on the road at UC Santa Barbara this week. We lost last night in five. I listened to tonight’s match over the radio and it was ESCRUCIATING! Is that the word? FOUR GAMES, ALL WENT INTO EXTRA PLAY!!! Why am I typing loudly? BECAUSE I MUST! And because the UH Warrior Basketball team had a home game tonight, KKEA 1420AM cut to the basketball game in the middle of the fourth game for volleyball! So then I had to follow on game tracker on cstv.com. It was so painful. If you don’t know what I’m saying right now, you don’t understand volleyball. The score was 30-32, 32-30, 34-36, 34-36. I have never seen a score like that. College VB is first to 30, win by 2, best 3 of 5 games takes the match. Now digest those scores.
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Next week is the alumni game with the rematches with UCLA the following week. I’m gonna make an effort to be at these matches, it’s always good fun. Gotta make some phone calls and rally the troops to come with me. I also wanna go when Loyola-Chicago and Irvine come down so I’m saving up for that. I wish I could see them play USC too but that’s an away game this season.

What more can I say about UH VB…? Oh, and it is so strange for me to see UH’s Frank wearing the number 10. I’ve been following Beckwith the last four seasons in that number 10 jersey. I can’t even remember who was the person before Beckwith to wear 10 and so I think Beckwith may be my 10 for years to come. It’s like Curt Vaughan in 8, Clay Stanley in 16, Miladinovic in 1, Ching in 15… and so on. After you see those guys play in those numbers, it takes a good while to get used to seeing that number on another player. Shoot, wait, now I remember; Bren10 [Brenton] Davis was 10 and then I think it was Beckwith next, but there were 2 seasons between them, I think. It’s gonna take getting used to Matic in 8 [Hakala] and Komar in 19 [Dante, completely different physique]. I still think of 9 as Carere and so I often forget that Cervantes is 9 now. That's terrible of me.

Anyways, Frank in 10 right after Beckwith is gonna take some getting used to. It looks like he fills it out a little more, at least on TV it looks like it. But I’m in Beckwith withdrawal anyways ‘cuz he was exciting to watch. I'm still in Hakala-/ Carere-/ Bender-/ etc. withdrawals also. Besides being great players, Hakala had that fierce wild look in the eyes after a good kill, Bender had that smile, and I could go on but I won't. My goodness, get over it.
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So that’s a lot of volleyball but not really. Definite rebuilding year but don’t give up on the Warriors. By the way, I have no idea why we call the women ‘Wahine’ and don’t call the men ‘Kane.’ Hmmm...

SuperBowl XLII is tomorrow, Patriots vs. Giants. I don’t make predictions about anything very often and so who knows how accurate I am. I’d like to see the Giants win. Has nothing to do with the win streak, I just like the way the Giants have been playing lately. And then it would be a Manning-Manning back-to-back Superbowls.

And I couldn’t believe the outcome of the Sugarbowl! It’s not like I was completely expecting UH to win, but I thought they would’ve done better than that. Brennan didn’t look good or bad in the senior bowl, then he looked real good in the drill competitions today.

I don’t feel either way about June Jones’ departure. I’m a ‘Bows fan, period. But since Jones has moved on, can we go back to being the Rainbows? Or Rainbow Warriors? There’s a real good story behind the Rainbow mascot; the story is featured in Bob Sigall’s The Companies We Keep 2, I’m pretty sure it’s in the second installment so check that out. There’s a lot of good stories in there about Hawai‘i trivia. And can we go back to the green uniforms? Even if it’s without the rainbow motif, after all, green is UH’s color. It’s such a good pride feeling when I see fans at sports events all wearing the team color, it’s amazing. I’d like to see Hawai‘i fans do that. As it is, it seems that UH Football fans at the moment are divided, not knowing whether to wear green or black.

I’ll end here. That’s enough sports and I’m going overlong.

Mahalo for reading in!