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Garbelotti ends with flourish

by Chuck Cordill, staff writer


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.

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“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.”



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