Team Hawaii makesBy Cindy Luis - Star-Bulletin
a point with its youth
Youthful exuberance took Team Hawaii to match-point last night.
Youthful experience delivered the match victory for Team Alberta.
The veteran Canadian entry in the Pacific Rim Junior Volleyball Tournament was one point away from being swept by untested Team Hawaii at Klum Gym. Instead, Team Alberta wore down the island all-stars and rallied for an 11-15, 5-15, 17-15, 15-4, 15-9 win.
"We may have gotten a little complacent in Game 3," said Team Hawaii coach Mike Among. "Plus, they made adjustments on our middles and we didn't make counter adjustments.
"I think fatigue may have been a factor. Most of our players are right out of high school ball, where they play 2-out-for-3 matches. Those guys (Alberta) are more used to five sets. Those were university players against us and I told my guys not to hang their heads at all. They played well."
Team Hawaii has little time for mourning. Play in the international tournament for 19-under boys continues today with Hawaii taking on a sharp-looking In-Ha University team from Korea at 7 p.m.
In-Ha blew past Team Nike in 69 minutes yesterday, 15-2, 15-6, 15-10. Team Nike, a mix of mainland and Hawaii players, faces Team Alberta at 4:30 p.m. today at Klum Gym.
Tomorrow, the tournament concludes with Team Alberta and In-Ha at 9 a.m. and Hawaii against Nike at 11: a.m. Tomorrow's matches have been moved from U.H's Gym II to Klum gym.
Team Alberta was struggling against Team Hawaii's quicker, more complex offense and the big block of 6-foot-9 Clay Stanley and 6-5 Scott Wong. After the 20-minute Game 2 rout, Alberta went with backup setter Peter Findlay, who, at 6-5, had a better read on the Hawaii block than 6-2 starter Jeremy Wilcox.
"We didn't have a lot of emotion on our side of the court," said Findlay, a fourth-year player for Team Alberta, "and I tried to bring that back up. The first couple of games, we were getting killed and it took us a while to figure out what they were doing.
"I had a chance to get a read on their tendencies and make adjustments. We were surprised at Hawaii's athletic ability, especially the jumping ability of their smaller players, and their ball control.
It took until the end of Game 3 before the Canadians were able to take control. They took their first lead of the match at 11-10, after trailing 6-10. Team Hawaii held off game-point at 14-12, scoring three unanswered points on a kill and two blocks by Stanley. What was left of the estimated crowd of 1,100 stood for aloha ball but were denied when Mike Wright put down one of his 13 kills.
Team Alberta answered with three straight points of its own, forcing Game 4. By the time the Canadians were finished with their 25-9 run, they had Hawaii right where they wanted them: in rally scoring.
"You try to teach them not to give up and to keep fighting," said Alberta coach Kevin Boyles. "We were having a lot of trouble blocking Hawaii the first two games. They were hitting straight down, under our arms. They have a great bunch of athletes and we had to take a step back. We didn't expect them to come out that strong. I don't think our guys were prepared for how hard they were going to be challenged."
And after controlling Games 1 and 2, Team Hawaii, which had been together about a month, wasn't prepared to fight back.
"We were in control and then we lost the momentum," said hitter Milo Hanneberg. "They started putting up a big block and started serving tougher. Then we got down too much in rally scoring to be able to come back.
"I don't mean to be cocky, but I think we had the better team and had more talent. Their chemistry and experience helped them win."
Blair Miller led Team Alberta with 23 kills and 3 aces. Wong finished with 23 kills to lead Team Hawaii and Stanley added 18 kills, 7 blocks and 3 aces. Setter Justin Oleole had four aces.
In-Ha 3, Team Nike 0: It didn't take long for Team Nike to figure out what it needed: more practice time together.
After just two workouts and with half its roster comprised of "borrowed" Team Hawaii players, Team Hawaii had few answeres for the quick attack by the Korean team.
San-Chul Kim had 14 kills and hit .722 with 5 blocks and Kun-Tai Kim added 16 kills in hitting .444. Tony Knopp and Tim O'Connell each had eight kills for Team Nike.