Big events don’t just happen.
They take long periods of planning, arguing, Bridezilla meltdowns and hard work. It takes a lot to make something look easy.
And so it was with last night’s volleyball match, in which the Warriors out-dueled nemesis Pepperdine to move into first place for the first since … forever.
And while the Stan Sheriff Center had a 1996 vibe — or, at least, 2002 feel — this season’s Warriors are unique. The mid-1990s Warriors had the perfect marriage of a new arena and Yuval Katz. The 2002 Warriors were a scrappy bunch led by Costas Theocharidis, Dejan Miladinovic, Eyal Zimet, Tony Ching, Vernon Podlewski and Kimo Tuyay. But Theocharidis and the rest were always good. This year’s Warriors? Not so much. There are memories of Brook Sedore’s freshman struggles, Siki Zarkovic’s short fuse, Taylor Averill’s sore arm, Davis Holt’s inexperience, Scott Hartley’s annual struggle of do-I-stay-or-do-I-go …
This team transformed from the average people next door to a volleyball attraction.
Charlie Wade had success in his first five years as head coach. But he lost his top assistant at the start of the season, and, yet, Wade is doing his best coaching job. He’s making (most of) the right moves, his players and coaches are happy, and the lower bowl is full. All this from a coach whose initial five-year contract was allowed to elapse last spring. He eventually signed a two-year extension.
The Warriors, who play Hope International this coming weekend, will go 19 days before their next MPSF match — a road meeting against UC San Diego on March 27. The gap might help the Warriors. While other MPSF teams can accumulate more victories during that span, they can’t delete losses. UC Irvine and UH are the only MPSF teams with two losses. The Warriors can pad their lead without playing.
* * * * *
The Warriors are fourth in this week’s AVCA poll, their highest ranking since finishing the 2010 season at No. 4.
* * * * *
Last month, the AD was required to submit a report to the Board of Regents in which he had to outline the economic impact of dropping sports.
One of the hypothesis that he was asked to float was whether, in a worst-case scenario, the school should drop men’s volleyball.
Again, this was only a hypothetical argument. There are no plans to drop any sports.
But, still, it is an interesting situation when the AD, who still is doing AD work until his contract expires in June, appears on the court after every match. The AD really likes the program, roots like heck from his court-side seat and he only reported what he was asked to do. But, still, it’s like a kid learning his parents once discussed putting him up for adoption — hypothetically, of course. Awkward.