On senior night, the Lady Sea Warrior volleyball team fell
to the No. 6 Lady Seasiders of Brigham Young University-Hawai‘i
27-30, 30-25, 30-17, 22-30, 13-15. The Nov. 16 season finale,
played at James C. Castle Gymnasium, left HPU 14-9, 6-4 in the
Pacific West Conference and BYU-H, 22-2, 9-2 in conference play.
HPU came into the must-win contest as the clear underdog. Although
it fell just short, lone HPU senior Suzy Garbelotti, playing
her last collegiate game, was happy her team went down fighting
and with her own performance.
Click on image for
“Tonight was all about pride,” said the middle blocker from
Foz Do Iguacu, Brazil. “Anytime we play this team, it’s a fight,
and I’m proud that this team fought them until the very end.
We wanted to win, but were a few points short. Still, I feel
we finished on a positive note.”
Garbelotti led the Lady Sea Warriors with her 12th double-double,
racking up 22 kills, 13 digs, and nine blocks. Late in game
four, Garbelotti hammered her 500th kill of the season.
The 2000 Pac West Newcomer of the Year has made a strong case
for conference Player of the Year honors. In only her second
season as an HPU Sea Warrior, Garbelotti has accumulated 874
kills, 507 digs, 93 assists, 246 blocks, and 74 service aces.
Garbelotti and her band of newcomers came within two points
of making that final leap, when they lead 13-12 in the decisive
fifth game. But Seasider maturity prevailed and HPU fell a mere
two points shy of that improbable dream.
Sea Warrior head coach Tita Ahuna was bittersweet following
the season-ending defeat. “Whenever we meet BYU-H, it’s a dogfight
to the end. That’s how volleyball should be played,” said Ahuna.
“Both of our teams seem to turn it up a notch when we play and
tonight was evidence of that. It came down to who wanted it
the most, and they prevailed. They are a great team, and I wish
them the best of luck.” Seasider head coach Wilfred Navalta
saw both teams as equal in talent, ability, and desire.
In the eyes of the BYU-H skipper, experience was the deciding
factor. “Coach Ahuna has a great squad,’ said Navalta. “ I think
either team could beat the other on any given night. They definitely
could have beaten us tonight, it was so even. They are well
coached, play with a lot of intelligence, and Garbelotti is
a superb player all around.”