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Hawaii Sports

Rainbow Wahine top USC, snap three-match skid

The Maui News

Annika de Goede had 11 kills, eight digs and three blocks to lead the University of Hawaii women’s volleyball team to a 25-17, 11-25, 25-21, 25-20 victory over Southern California on Friday night at SimpliFi Arena at Stan Stan Sheriff Center in Honolulu.

Brooke Van Sickle added nine kills and 14 digs, Amber Igiede had eight kills, nine digs and four blocks, Anna Kiraly added eight kills and three blocks, and Mylana Byrd had 39 assists and 11 digs for the Rainbow Wahine (3-4).

After two lopsided sets to start the match, the Rainbow Wahine pulled away late in winning the third and fourth sets and snapping a three-match losing streak.

The teams were tied at 18 in the third when UH went on a 6-2 run — capped by a solo stuff by Kiraly — to get to set point. Kiraly ended it with a kill down the line.

In the fourth, the ’Bows put the match away with a late 7-0 run after the teams battled to 17-17. B

rooke Botkin had 17 kills to lead USC (3-4), which outhit UH .183 to .151 but was hurt by 11 service errors.

The teams play again today.

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Hawaii Sports

UH-Oregon State preview: Beavers hope to rebound against Warriors

By ANNE M. PETERSON

The Associated Press

CORVALLIS, Ore. — Pac-12 After Dark is coming to Corvallis tonight, but Oregon State no doubt hopes to avoid any drama.

The Beavers (0-1) host the University of Hawaii (1-1) at 8 p.m. local time (5 p.m. HST) and there’s certainly cause for Oregon State’s vigilance heading into the game. Last Saturday night, a pair of Mountain West teams defeated Pac-12 teams: Utah State downed Washington State and Nevada beat California.

And then there’s the last time against Hawaii. The Rainbow Warriors defeated Oregon State 31-28 in Honolulu on a late field goal two years ago.

Beavers coach Jonathan Smith was in his second season then. He doesn’t think there’s too much to take from that 2019 game because so much has changed.

“I guess you can take from it that knowing this is a quality opponent, this is going to be a challenge, but ultimately the personnel is quite a bit different, staff’s different,” Smith said. “So not much there.”

But they are fairly common nonconference opponents. Overall, the two teams have played 11 times, with Oregon State winning seven times — including the two games played in Corvallis.

There’s also familiarity in terms of staff: Smith, former offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Washington, has often faced current Hawaii coach Todd Graham, who was coach at Arizona State from 2012 to 2017.

But the Beavers have the advantage of being home at Reser Stadium, which will welcome fans for the first time since 2019. Under state regulations, fans older than 5 years old must wear masks regardless of vaccination status.

Oregon State is still also requiring proof of vaccination or a negative test. The Beavers, along with the Oregon Ducks to the south, were among the first FBS-level programs to impose the requirement on fans attending games.

Quarterback Controversy

Oregon State was going to let the week play out before deciding on a starting quarterback. Sam Noyer, a transfer from Colorado, started for the Beavers last Saturday in a 30-21 loss at Purdue.

He was replaced by Chance Nolan, who led the Beavs on two scoring drives. Smith acknowledged that while Nolan played better, Noyer won the job in camp.

“It’s like, why rush this decision? Let it play out a couple days,” Smith said, saying the decision would be made based on the game plan against UH.

The Beavers opened camp with a three-way quarterback competition that included Tristan Gebbia, who is currently out with hamstring soreness.

Hawaii’s Season

The Rainbow Warriors opened the season against another Pac-12 opponent, falling 44-10 to UCLA at the Rose Bowl. H

awaii rebounded with a 49-35 victory over Portland State in Honolulu last Saturday. Chevan Cordeiro threw for three touchdowns and Dedrick Parson ran for two more.

Against the Pac

UH has won four of its 17 games against Pac-12 opponents since 2010, twice against Colorado, once against Arizona and the aforementioned game against the Beavers.

The Rainbow Warriors have lost 10 straight games on the road against Pac-12 opponents. The last win was at Cal in 1994.

Sitting Out

Hawaii cornerback Cameron Lockridge must sit out the first half against the Beavers after getting flagged for targeting against Portland State.

_______________

NOTABLE COLLEGE FOOTBALL ON TV

Today

6 a.m.—No. 12 Oregon at No. 3 Ohio St., FOX

10:30 a.m.—No. 10 Iowa at No. 9 Iowa St., ABC

4:15 p.m.—No. 21 Utah at BYU, ESPN

5 p.m.—Hawaii at Oregon St., FS1

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Hawaii Sports

Trade for Watson? Dolphins coach says Tua is his QB

By ALAIN POUPART

The Associated Press

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Miami Dolphins coach Brian Flores publicly expressed his support for quarterback Tua Tagovailoa on Wednesday, which may or may not tamp down speculation about the team’s interest in Houston quarterback Deshaun Watson.

Tagovailoa will be the Week 1 starter against the New England Patriots on Sept. 12, Flores said.

“Yes. I don’t know if I can be more clear,” Flores said. “I don’t know how many times I’ll say it. I don’t know how much more clear I can be here. Tua is the starter. I mean, if I need to say it again, I will.”

Tagovailoa naturally was happy to hear Flores’ comments.

“I think it means a lot, with it coming from the head coach,” he said. “The support that I have from him, from the team, it means a lot. For me, I’m just focused literally on trying to get our guys ready for next week.”

The Dolphins have declined to confirm or deny reports they have engaged in trade talks to acquire Watson, who has been accused of sexual assault and harassment in lawsuits filed by 22 women. He has denied the allegations.

“You know what’s funny? I heard (DT John Jenkins) just say he doesn’t have cable. I’m one of those guys that don’t have cable, too. So I’m not able to turn on my TV and watch what’s going on, to see the news and whatnot.

“Now, obviously I know social media’s a big deal but really, I only hear about those things from my agents or if it comes from (Miami communications executive) Anne Noland or if coach wants to sit down and talk to me about things like that. That’s kind of how I find out a lot of the talk that’s going on.”

Speculation regarding a possible trade has raised questions about Miami’s commitment to Tagovailoa, a top-five draft pick last year.

“Tua is our quarterback,” Flores said. “I think he has had a good training camp. I think he has made a lot of progress. I think he has made a lot of improvement. We’re pleased with where he is.”

Tagovailoa had a 6-3 record as a starter as a rookie after replacing Ryan Fitzpatrick as the starting quarterback after six games. He passed for 1,814 yards with 11 touchdowns and five interceptions, and was pulled in favor of Fitzpatrick in games against the Denver Broncos and Las Vegas Raiders.

No charges have been filed against Watson, who has made the Pro Bowl the past three seasons. His availability this season is unclear, and Houston police and the NFL are investigating the allegations against him.

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Hawaii Sports

Flores: Dolphins wants players with ‘high character’

By STEVEN WINE

The Associated Press

MIAMI — As speculation swirled Monday regarding the Miami Dolphins’ interest in embattled quarterback Deshaun Watson, coach Brian Flores said the team wants players with “high character.”

The Dolphins have declined to confirm or deny reports they have engaged in trade talks to acquire Watson, the Houston Texans’ star who has been accused of sexual assault and harassment in lawsuits filed by 22 women.

Watson and his lawyers have denied the accusations against him. No charges have been filed, but his availability this season is unclear, and Houston police and the NFL are investigating.

Flores didn’t talk specifically about Watson, but discussed the Dolphins’ philosophy in acquiring players who need a fresh start.

“There are a lot of things we weigh when we’re making decisions — fit on the team, overall talent, salary cap,” Flores said. “When we’re talking about a player or players, we’re always trying to do what is best for the Miami Dolphins. There are a lot of variables. We want a group that is tough, smart, competitive, loves to play and is team-first. Those are the types of guys we’re looking for.

“We have a high standard for the people we have in the organization. We want people with high character throughout the building.”

While fans and pundits debated the merits of trading for a three-time Pro Bowl quarterback with legal issues, the Dolphins played their final exhibition game Sunday, and Flores dealt Monday with the upcoming deadline for roster cuts.

“There are always rumors, there’s always speculation, there’s always some form of distraction,” Flores said. “As a team we’ve got to block that stuff out and play.”

Any interest in acquiring Watson would signal a lack of commitment to Tua Tagovailoa, a top-five pick last year who has had a strong training camp and will begin his second NFL season Sept. 12 at New England.

“He has taken a step as far as leadership and working with his teammates to get things right,” Flores said of the quarterback from Ewa Beach, Oahu. “He is asking more questions to us as a coaching staff situationally. He has made some very good strides.

“There’s still a lot of room for improvement. Hopefully we continue to make improvement.”

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Hawaii Sports

Tua sharp in Dolphins’ 37-17 victory over Falcons

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) — The Miami Dolphins had an early injury scare to one of their new additions, then soundly defeated an opponent they became familiar with during the week.

Tua Tagovailoa threw for 187 yards and a touchdown in one half, and the Dolphins beat the Atlanta Falcons 37-17 on Saturday.

“I think our operation was really good out there offensively,” Tagovailoa said. “Line got to the line of scrimmage and made their points. We went out there and ran the play.”

The Falcons rested their starters, while the Dolphins’ first unit played most of the first half in the second preseason game for both teams, who participated in joint practices Wednesday and Thursday at Miami’s training facility.

“That’s the fun part about coaching and the decisions we make as an organization,” Falcons coach Arthur Smith said of the decision to go with backups. “And that’s been my experience. You should have time to develop players. That’s invaluable.”

Dolphins wide receiver Jaylen Waddle, the No. 6 overall selection in this year’s draft, avoided a serious injury during the team’s opening drive. Waddle grimaced in pain after his left leg collided with a Falcons defender. The rookie from Alabama was checked in the medical tent and returned, but was not targeted again. Waddle caught three passes for 21 yards.

“We’ve got a great training staff so they took a look at him and he went back in,” Dolphins coach Brian Flores said. “He’s a tough kid. That’s part of playing in the National Football League. Every once in a while you’re going to get dinged.”

Miami’s first two drives ended in touchdowns by Myles Gaskin. The running back capped the first drive with a 1-yard score. Gaskin accounted for 57 of the Dolphins’ 75 yards during the drive.

Tagovailoa connected with Gaskin on an 8-yard touchdown pass that gave Miami a 14-3 lead 2:20 into the second quarter.

“I think we prepared really well,” Gaskin said. “Obviously, practicing with those guys gave us good looks.”

Jacoby Brissett replaced Tagovailoa in the second half. Tagovailoa completed 16 of 23 passes.

With quarterback Matt Ryan sitting out, AJ McCarron and rookie Feleipe Franks took the snaps for Atlanta. McCarron started, but left with a right knee injury early in the second quarter. An MRI showed McCarron tore his ACL and he will be out for the season, the Falcons announced Sunday.

McCarron and Franks had been vying for the No. 2 spot behind Ryan. Before his injury, McCarron was 3 of 6 for 43 yards, while Franks finished 4 of 9 for 46 yards and an interception.

Sam Eguavoen had four sacks for Miami, including one in the end zone for a safety in the third quarter.

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Hawaii Sports

Paris calling: After Tokyo, Olympians hanker for 2024 Summer Games

By JOHN LEICESTER

The Associated Press

TOKYO — They’ll always have Paris.

That thought, full of promise, has been a lifebuoy for athletes to cling to as they coped, as best they could, with thickets of restrictions at the pandemic-hit Tokyo Games that severely crimped their Olympic experience — and left some hungry for more.

Barred from bringing family and friends with them to Japan, playing in empty arenas and not allowed to sightsee in Tokyo, some athletes found themselves day-dreaming about the French capital’s Olympic rendezvous in 2024. If the coronavirus is tamed by then, the Paris Games could quickly become the party games. Already, there is palpable pent-up eagerness among athletes to make up for Tokyo and its disappointments.

“When Paris happens, I’ll be like, ‘OK, wow, like this is a whole new energy. This is it,’ ” said U.S. skateboarder Mariah Duran. “Maybe I had to have the appetizer before the whole meal.”

For now, Paris officials say they’re betting that the pandemic will be over when their turn comes.

“Normally, we’ll be able to party,” the city’s mayor, Anne Hidalgo, said Sunday on French TV when Tokyo passed the baton.

But if the coronavirus is still ruining the best-laid plans, then Tokyo has served up a model of how to hold an Olympics even as infections are surging. It pared the games down to their most essential ingredient: competition. No spectators. No city-wide partying. Very little mingling between Olympians and their hosts. Paris officials were watching closely and say that while they hope for the best, they’ll also plan for the worst.

Toughest for many Tokyo Olympians was not being accompanied to Japan by loved ones who had no choice but to watch them compete on TV. American surfer Carissa Moore said it was “a huge challenge” being separated from her husband and his “strong constant voice.”

Moore ultimately found her footing to win gold in surfing’s debut as an Olympic sport. As painful as separation was, Tokyo was also a learning experience for the Honolulu native.

“I’m very proud of myself, to be here and stand on my own two feet,” she said.

Traveling without her parents for the first time at age 17, U.S. skateboarder Brighton Zeuner compensated by staying closely connected even during her competition, video-calling her father from the Olympic skate bowl “between every single run I did.”

To limit infection risks, organizers also asked athletes to arrive in Tokyo no earlier than five days before competing and leave within 48 hours of being done — a rapid turnaround that further truncated the Olympic experience.

Belgian skateboarder Axel Cruysberghs, who competed in week one, and his skateboarding wife Lizzie Armanto, who competed in week two, passed each other like ships in the night. As she took off for Tokyo, his flight back to their home was 20 minutes from landing.

“It worked out for our puppy,” Armanto joked. But it wasn’t the fairy-tale Olympics they’d planned before the pandemic.

“We’d hoped to like be here for a month together and, you know, I could see his event and he could stay for mine,” she said. “But because of COVID and everything …”

Armanto came away from Tokyo having not made up her mind about whether she wants to go again in Paris. In an Instagram livestream from the Olympic residential compound where athletes were largely confined when not training or competing, she was wrestling with cabin fever, complaining of rooms that “feel a little prison-like” and wishing that organizers hadn’t barred athletes from going to watch sports other than their own in their downtime.

“I’ve circled the perimeter quite a few times because what else do you do here?” Armanto asked.

Not being able to pass the time at sports venues was a common complaint.

“That’s something I would have liked to have experienced as an Olympian, to go watch my other teammates, other than wrestlers, compete,” said Elias Kuosmanen of Finland, who wrestled in the Greco-Roman heavyweight class.

At the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Canadian volleyball player Nicholas Hoag took in gymnastics and track and field on off days, went out for drinks with teammates and otherwise absorbed the Olympic experience. But on days with no matches in Tokyo, “I was watching TV pretty much all day, watching all the sports.”

Another Canadian volleyballer, Ryan Sclater, said the pandemic games were “a real mix of amazing things and weird things” and somewhat blunted by social distancing and mask wearing. Athletes were asked not to mingle outside their teams and avoid “unnecessary” hugs, high-fives and handshakes — guidance they frequently ignored in the heat and joy of competition.

“We are not quite connecting in the same way that we normally could,” Sclater said. “It’s funny being so close to all these amazing people who are here to compete but then not quite getting to know them in the same way as you might at a different Olympics.”

But because the pandemic delayed Tokyo by a year, Paris is now only a three-year wait instead of the usual four.

“That is exciting, yes, to think about being able to do this again,” Sclater said. “To see even more of the beauty and coolness of people coming together and being able to really connect to the Olympics.”

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Hawaii Sports

Native Hawaiians ‘reclaim’ surfing with Carissa Moore’s Olympic gold

By SALLY HO

The Associated Press

Carissa Moore wore a white and yellow plumeria pinned next to her ear for her victory-lap interviews after making history as the first Olympic gold medalist at surfing’s historic debut.

Her mother — crowned the Honolulu Lei Queen in 2016 — had given her the flower hair clip before she left for Tokyo to remind the only Native Hawaiian Olympic surfer of where she came from.

At this pinnacle point, Moore is still in disbelief when she’s compared to Duke Kahanamoku, the godfather of modern surfing who is memorialized in Waikiki with a cherished monument.

“I don’t think I’ll have a statue,” Moore said, grinning from ear to ear while her body bobbed into a quiet giggle at the suggestion. “Gosh, there’s only a few people in Hawaii that I think deserve that.”

As celebrated at home as she is loved by fans and peers around the world, it was a characteristically modest statement from one of the world’s greatest surfers after she took home gold in the sport’s inaugural Olympic competition last week.

The methodical Moore found her rhythm with the ocean to deliver the kind of standout, power-surfing performance that has defined her career. The picture-perfect ending even included a rainbow that popped into the sky as she shredded waves in the final against South African rival Bianca Buitendag.

Moore has now become a realization of Kahanamoku’s dream, at once the symbol of the sport’s very best and a validating force for an Indigenous community that still struggles with its complex history.

“It’s a reclaiming of that sport for our native community,” said Kuhio Lewis, president of the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement, which convenes the largest annual gathering of Native Hawaiians.

Lewis said all the locals he knew were texting each other during the competition, glued to the TV and elated, even relieved, by Moore’s “surreal” win. He called it a “come to home moment” for a community that may never reconcile its dispossession.

After centuries of colonization by various European settlers, Hawaii was annexed by the United States in 1898 after the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy by U.S.-backed forces in 1893.

“At times, we’re an invisible people. We’re lumped in to other ethnic groups. Our sport is being defined by other groups. This puts it into perspective,” Lewis said. “It feels like an emerging of a people, of a native community that has been invisible to many.”

All eyes were on Moore when the Tokyo Games began, not only because she was the medal favorite as the reigning world champion but also because she was competing for the United States. Until then, Moore had always surfed for Hawaii in the professional World Surf League, which recognizes it as a “sovereign surfing nation.”

Moore is biracial and grew up in the only majority Asian American and Pacific Islander state in the United States. Her white father, of Irish and German ancestry, taught her how to surf. Her mother is ethnically Native Hawaiian and Filipino and was adopted and raised in a Chinese-American family.

“I’m proud to be representing the USA, but specifically the islands of Hawaii because there are just so many different kinds of people there, and I feel like such a connection to all of them,” Moore said. “And I wouldn’t be where I am today without the community of people that have really raised me.”

U.S. Senator Brian Schatz of Hawaii this week honored both Moore and Kahanamoku on the Senate floor.

“There’s a saying that the best surfer is the person having the most fun and that’s unquestionably the case with Carissa,” Schatz said. “She’s an intense competitor who wants to win every event she enters, but also one who wants to see her opponents — and more importantly the sport of surfing itself — succeed.”

Kahanamoku was among the first athletes to break sports’ color barrier as an Olympic swimmer who medaled five times. It was at the 1912 Summer Games in Stockholm that he first pushed the International Olympic Committee to include surfing, though it was virtually unknown outside of his native Hawaii back then.

Hawaii’s most famous son then dedicated his life to promoting surfing and his homeland, famously introducing the sport via exhibitions in places from California to New Jersey, Australia and Europe. Kahanamoku was the ultimate waterman: His legacy includes popularizing flutter swimming kicks and spreading the concept of lifeguarding and water rescue to the masses. On top of that, he dabbled in Hollywood movies and served as Honolulu’s sheriff.

A century later, Moore was plenty accomplished in the sport before her Olympic Games. She became the youngest ever champion at age 18, and today has four world titles in addition to being the first Olympic gold medalist in her sport. She’s also recruiting young girls to take up a sport that once very much prioritized men, and has spoken publicly about her struggles with body image and disordered eating as a teenager.

With this new global platform, Moore says she is proud of what she represents and wants to spread positivity as her idol did.

“This was his dream to have surfing in the Olympics,” Moore said. “I hope I made him and my people proud.”

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Hawaii Sports

Beach Volleyball

The U.S. pair of Jake Gibb and Tri Bourne were eliminated in the round of 16 of the men’s tournament after a 17-21, 21-15, 15-11 loss to Germany’s Julius Thole and Clemens Wickler on Monday.

Bourne was a last-minute swap after Gibb’s original partner — Taylor Crabb, who like Bourne hails from Hawaii — tested positive for COVID-19 when he arrived in Japan. The pair had just three practices before their first match, but they made it out of pool play with a 2-1 record.

The 45-year-old Gibb, a four-time Olympian, announced his retirement after Monday’s match.

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Hawaii Sports

US men’s volleyball team eliminated early in Tokyo

By JOSH DUBOW

The Associated Press

TOKYO — Micah Christenson gave coach John Speraw a long, tearful embrace as his U.S. men’s volleyball teammates slumped on the floor and the victorious Argentinians celebrated.

Instead of building on the bronze medal won in Rio de Janeiro five years ago, the Americans are going home early from the Olympics for the first time in more than 20 years.

“It’s heartbreaking,” Christenson said after the straight-set loss to Argentina on Sunday denied the U.S. a spot in the quarterfinals.

“We worked really hard for this. We delayed another year to work as hard as we could for this. This isn’t the way we wanted to finish plain and simple. It’s heartbreaking.”

The Americans won two of their first three matches in Tokyo before losing to Brazil and Argentina to fall to fifth place in Pool B and miss out on the quarterfinals for the first time since losing all five matches in Sydney 21 years ago.

The U.S. brought eight players back from the team that won in 2016 — including Hawaii’s Christenson and Erik and Kawika Shoji — but never got back into top form following the long break because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Americans struggled in a tune-up tournament in Italy, and that didn’t change in Tokyo. They started off well by sweeping France in the opener but lost three of their last four matches.

“It’s next to impossible to process it right now,” said Matt Anderson after his third Olympics. “It will be a hard couple of weeks after this tournament thinking about it. I think that’s part of our process as athletes and what we’re forced to do when something means this much to you. It’s going to hurt. It takes time to process that and move on.”

Argentina took advantage of the Americans faulting on five of their final six serves late in the third set to close out the match. Christenson’s serve into the net at 23-all gave Argentina match point, and it ended when Taylor Sander’s block went wide.

The errant serves were a recurring problem all Olympics as the U.S. had the most serve errors with 97, including several at key moments late in sets.

“It makes me wonder if they were just trying to do too much in that moment,” Speraw said.

Christenson finished with 32 assists and five digs, while Erik Shoji registered 12 digs from his libero spot.

The U.S. was fighting uphill nearly all match. Argentina was the better serving team early, getting three aces from Facundo Conte in the opening set to pull it out 25-21.

The U.S. scored five straight points to go up 21-19 in the second set but couldn’t close it out. Bruno Lima’s spike after a long rally gave the Argentina a set point and it closed it out on a block by Martin Ramos against TJ DeFalco.

The U.S. then couldn’t close out the third set and now heads home early.

“This team is a great team,” Speraw said. “I honestly just feel like we could go win the world championships next year. It’s obviously not worth thinking about right now, but we’re just going to have to learn and gain from this experience. It’s all you can do right now.”

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Hawaii Sports

Moore into quarterfinals, Florence falls to US teammate at Olympics

Hawaii’s Carissa Moore (first photo) and John John Florence (second photo) compete during the Tokyo Olympics today at Tsurigasaki beach in Ichinomiya, Japan. Moore defeated Peru’s Sofia Mulanovich 10.34-9.90 to advance to the women’s quarterfinals, while Florence bowed out in the men’s round of 16 with a 14.83-11.60 loss to U.S. teammate Kolohe Andino.