Hawaii wins first NCAA volleyball national title

Posted: Sunday, May 05, 2002

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) -- Costas Theocharidis had 19 kills as Hawaii won its first NCAA men's volleyball title Saturday night, beating Pepperdine 29-31, 31-29, 30-21, 30-24.

Hawaii beat Pepperdine for the first time in four matches this year, including the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation championship last week.

The Warriors (24-8) had never won an NCAA championship in any men's sport, and had only reached the men's volleyball final once. Pepperdine (29-5) is 4-5 in championship matches.

Theocharidis, selected the outstanding player, nailed the winning kill in the fourth game.

''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.''

Tony Ching added 17 kills and nine digs for the Warriors.

''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.''

Sean Rooney led the Waves with 18 kills, and Lance Walker had 17.

''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.''

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