The win clinched the conference title for BYU-H (18-2, 9-0)
and assured them an automatic berth in the NCAA II national
tourney. HPU (15-5, 6-3), ranked No. 17 in the AVCA top 25
coaches poll, clings to an outside chance of receiving an at-large
The top six teams in each region advance to the tourney, and
HPU was ranked sixth in the last Pacific region poll taken
Oct. 22. But that was before the injury-plagued Lady Sea Warriors
dropped three consecutive conference matches. The next regional
poll will be released Nov. 5.
HPU faces BYU-H in the final two games of the 2003 regular
season, traveling back to Laie for a non-conference match Nov.
7, and hosting the Lady Seasiders Nov. 15 in a conference match
at St. Andrew’s Priory. The best HPU can do is sweep
its remaining games with the conference champion and hope the
regional pollsters take notice. It helps that Chaminade and
UH-Hilo both lost their matches this weekend.
Injuries sink HPU efforts
Prior to the UH-Hilo match Oct. 25, HPU was 15-2 and a perfect
6-0 in conference matches. But numerous injuries caught up
with the team and forced Head Coach Tita Ahuna to shuffle
The Lady Sea Warriors battled the usual nagging injuries
all sports team deal with through a tough campaign: sore
bumps, bruises, the usual. But in the Oct. 19 match against
UH-Hilo, the “Quarterback” went down and sent the
team into a tailspin. Setter Vera Olivera, a two-time PacWest
Player of the Week, suffered a lower right leg strain in the
second set of that match.
Olivera, a 5-10 sophomore from Londrina, Brazil, hadn’t
missed a game in her two seasons in a green-and- blue uniform.
She wasn’t able to play until the BYU-H match, and in
that she was far less than 100 percent.
Outside hitter/middle blocker Nadica Karleusa, sprained an
ankle in practice prior to the UH-Hilo match and had to sit
it out. The 6-2 sophomore from Belgrade, Yugoslavia leads
the team with a .306 attack percentage and is second in
Flavia Brakling, a 6-0 OH from Sao Paulo, Brazil who leads
the Lady Sea Warriors with 310 kills and 181 defense digs,
went down with a sprained ankle in the Oct. 28 loss to
Brazilian teammates Paula Nascimento (OH) and
(MB) have missed playing time due to back spasms and
a hyper extended elbow, respectively. Several more players
with nagging ailments. Any local company that markets
athletic wraps in the HPU team colors should see a high-profit
for this quarter.