M College BB
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Saturday, May 4
Warriors pick right time to finally beat the Waves

Associated Press

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- Costas Theocharidis was named most outstanding player, but he said Hawaii owes its first NCAA men's volleyball championship to teammate Tony Ching.

Costas Theocharidis
Hawaii's Costas Theocharidis, right, named the tournament's most outstanding player, spikes a ball past Pepperdine's Lance Walker.

Theocharidis had 19 kills in leading Hawaii to the championship with a 3-1 (29-31, 31-29, 30-21, 30-24) victory Saturday night over Pepperdine. Ching added 17 kills and nine digs for the Warriors (24-8).

"It's always nice to have other people step up and Tony played like an All-American tonight," Theocharidis said. "It's great to have the pressure taken off. Tonight was a team effort; it was unbelievable."

It was the fourth time the two teams had played this year, with Pepperdine winning all three meetings, including the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation championship last week.

Hawaii lost the first game, but came back to win a close Game 2, then dominated the third and fourth games to win their first-ever NCAA title in any men's sport. Pepperdine (29-5) fell to 4-5 in championship matches.

"From Game 2 on, we played our best match of the year and it couldn't have come at a better time," Hawaii coach Mike Wilton said. "Costas was money tonight."

Fittingly, Theocharidis nailed the winning kill in the fourth game, a 30-24 Warrior win, which sealed the championship.

The Warriors dominated Game 3, hitting .387 to Pepperdine's .122. Theocharidis had five kills, including the game winner. Ching and Thomas Delano each had four kills in Game 2.

Pepperdine hit .625 in winning Game 1, including a 7-for-7 showing by freshman Sean Rooney. After that though, things went downhill for Pepperdine. The Waves' usually dominant service game fell through, paving the way for an Hawaii victory.

"I tell these guys, there are no little things," Pepperdine coach Marv Dunphy said. "We made some service errors, but that's the way it goes. Hawaii was the better team tonight."

Rooney finished with 18 kills, and Lance Walker had 17 for the Waves.

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