Warriors will not take alumni lightly
By Stephen Tsai
In Hawai'i, there's nothing like old friends coming over for a potluck and some friendly volleyball.
Only the old friends will be suiting up for the alumni team. And the Hawai'i volleyball team — in the stretch run of its regular season — will be saving the pleasantries for the post-match meal.
"We're not going to take it easy on them," UH left-side hitter Joshua Walker said, smiling. "We have to get ready for Santa Barbara (next week). We have to take them seriously."
The alumni promise to bring back more than memories.
"I'm excited to be here, and beat up on these youngsters," said Jake Schkud, whose last UH season was in 2008. "They may win, but we're definitely going to prove some stuff to them."
At 5 p.m., there will be an exhibition matching two alumni teams. At 7 p.m., there is a match between the Warriors and a select alumni team. All seats will be general admission in the Stan Sheriff Center. Tickets are priced at $7 (adults), $5 (senior citizens) and $3 (ages 4 through high school, and UH system students).
Dan Fisher is caught between the past and present. The UH assistant coach is a former Warrior who will be available to play for the alumni.
After playing in the golf tournament Thursday, Fisher said: "My abs are a little sore. I'll be available if the alumni (need) me. I will be in uniform and ready to go. I think the game is going to be pretty competitive. More importantly, it will be fun to see some old friends, and bring the volleyball community back home to the Stan Sheriff Center."
Among the alumni players are Brian Beckwith, Johnny Matt Bender, Sean Carney, Tony Ching, Mauli'a LaBarre, Sivan Leoni, Vernon Podlewski, Kimo Tuyay and Curt Vaughan.
"We definitely idolized them," Walker said. "They're great players. It's nice when teams want to come back and play us, especially when they're really good."
Bender inadvertently learned of the match. The past three years, he has worked in software development in New York and Santa Monica. After he and his wife planned a vacation to Hawai'i, they learned it would coincide with the match.
"I've been playing a little bit of beach (volleyball)," Bender said. "Not a lot. Don't expect any fireworks. There's none to be had, for sure."