It appears the Warrior volleyball team has made the right moves in correcting the problems of last season. Freshmen — and future stars — Steven Hunt and Gus Tuaniga have energized the team, Josh Walker has embraced the role of go-to hitter, and middles Steven Grgas and Matt “Dragon” Rawson now are threats as attackers.
But the program still could use some fixing, in such areas as:
• Crowd placement: The folks working in the office last night questioned the attendance of 1,200 as being inflated. The figure was quite accurate. The problem is that in volleyball, the setup is flip-flopped from basketball. The teams are required to face the referee, who is at the top of an elevated platform. But because the stand obstructs court-side views, the television cameras and announcers are placed on the same sideline as the team. The boosters are behind the team benches, meaning most of the fans are not shown on television.
• Ticket prices: It was a nice gesture to lower the lower-bowl seats to $11 apiece. But knocking off at least another dollar would have been better. Ten dollars is just a clean, round number. I wonder how they came up with $11, anyway. It would be like a newspaper, in a frail economy, deciding to raise the cover price by a quarter.
• Premium fee: OK, a season ticket for the lower bowl is $150. The premium fee is $100. Wuh? Does men’s volleyball really need to charge a premium fee? It drives folks who might consider buying a season ticket to instead pick-and-choose individual games.
• The 10-minute break: Everywhere else in the country there are three-minute breaks between sets. Only in the Stan Sheriff Center is there an expanded 10-minute (and sometimes longer) break between Sets 2 and 3. First, the break kills momentum. Second, volleyball is a sport of endurance, a strategy negated by the break. It would be like golfers all being allowed a 15-minute shi-shi break before the 15th hole. The MPSF coaches recognized the Hawai‘i rule was stooo-pid, and voted it out. Even Jim Donovan noted that the 10-minute beak was unnecessary. But some administrators said they weren’t notified, and tabled a move to restore the break to three minutes. (C’mon, if administrators had to be notified, would Les Murakami Stadium have been built?) One of the reasons cited was it would give fans a chance to get food. Another was that the time had been sold to sponsors to hold promotional contests. But in my brief experience working the food stands (my wife, who was leading the school group, “fired” me for having a bad attitude), I noticed that refreshments, like at movie theaters, were purchased mostly before the event. And if fans are really going to get food, who’s watching the sponsors’ contests?
But I digress.
We now return to our regular programming.
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UH recruit Iuta Tepa of Long Beach Poly was named to MaxPrep’s High School All-America first team.
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Adam Leonard leaves tomorrow to work out for the next month in Tampa.
He hopes to be invited to the NFL combine. If that does not happen, he will return to either his home in Seattle or to Hawai‘i to prepare for UH’s Pro Day in March in Carson, Calif.
The downside is Leonard will miss the bash of the year — Brad Kalilimoku’s graduation party on Sunday.
“That’s the biggest thing in Hawai‘i,” Leonard said.
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Corey Nielsen will be our chat guest on Monday.
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The word on the street is that because of budget cuts, the “Sports Animals” afternoon show will be cut by an hour, to the 4 p.m.-6 p.m. slot.