Sports Warriors know they need wins to make a mark By Stephen Tsai March 1, 2013 Mahalo for supporting Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Enjoy this free story! STAR-ADVERTISER / 2013Jace Olsen could get extended playing time tonight as JP?Marks is recovering from an illness. Read more Mahalo for reading the Honolulu Star-Advertiser! You're reading a premium story. Read the full story with our Print & Digital Subscription. Subscribe Now Read this story for free: Watch an ad or complete a survey Log In Already a subscriber? Log in now to continue reading this story. Activate Digital Account Print subscriber but without online access? Activate your Digital Account now. The Hawaii volleyball team is doing the math. “At some point, we’re going to play someone where, at least mathematically, we’re the favorite,” UH coach Charlie Wade said. “That hasn’t happened yet.” It won’t happen in the Warriors’ matches against eighth-ranked Cal State Northridge tonight and Sunday afternoon in the Stan Sheriff Center. The Warriors have played two-match series against six Mountain Pacific Sports Federation teams. Each is in the top six of the MPSF standings. Northridge, at 5-6, is seventh. “I don’t think there’s any doubt Northridge is a playoff-caliber team,” Wade said. “This is another top team.” Through the first two months of the season, the Warriors had the most difficult strength of schedule, according to a widely regarded computer formula. The Warriors (5-10 overall, 4-8 in MPSF) are at the halfway point of their 24-match league schedule. They are ninth among 13 teams in the nation’s toughest conference, trailing UC Santa Barbara (5-9) by .024 percentage points. The top eight teams advance to the MPSF playoffs. “We’ve had some nice wins in there,” Wade said, “but we’re going to have to go at least 8-4 on the other side of it. We need to win more than we lose, that’s for sure.” The Matadors are an intriguing challenge. Brandon Lebrock, a 6-foot-1 outside hitter, and John Baker, a 6-4 opposite, are undersized at their positions. But both are point-scoring attackers. Baker averages 3.18 kills per set; Lebrock averages 3.12. Each has 156 kills. “Lebrock and Baker are clearly their go-to hitters,” Wade said. Typical of a Jeff Campbell-coached team, the Matadors look to the middle often. Drew Staker and Jared Moore — both 6 feet 8 — are hitting .493 and .454, respectively. The Northridge middles are noted for taking a longer approach on each attack. “It’s a little different from what you see from a lot of teams,” Wade said. “It’s a little different, but it doesn’t make it easier to defend.” The Warriors, meanwhile, have evolved this season. Left-side hitter Siki Zarkovic and libero Matt Cheape are the only constants from the season-opening series. JP Marks has moved from opposite to the left side. Brooke Sedore has gone from serving specialist to opposite. Setter Joby Ramos has started the past 11 matches. Taylor Averill, an opposite last season, is starting in the middle in place of Nick West, who has an abdominal strain. Johann Timmer, the serving substitute, has played extensively in the middle. Wade said the Warriors have depth and, in practices, intense competition. The so-called B side has competed well against the starters in scrimmage-like drills. WARRIOR VOLLEYBALL At Stan Sheriff Center >> Who: No. 8 Cal State Northridge (7-6, 5-6 MPSF) vs. No. 11 Hawaii (5-10, 4-8 MPSF) >> When: 7 p.m. today; 5 p.m. Sunday >> TV: OCSports (Ch. 16) >> Radio: KKEA (1420-AM) today; KHKA (1500-AM) Sunday >> Series: UH leads 44-17 In Wednesday’s practice in Klum Gym, the Warriors used a computer system to track the effectiveness of each player in game-like situations. Left-side hitter Jace Olsen had one of the top scores. Olsen has been practicing in place of Marks, who is recovering from an illness. Marks is expected to start tonight, but if he’s not fully healthy, Olsen is expected to be summoned first. “I came here to help the team out,” said Olsen, who played the previous two seasons at Penn State. “That’s been my goal from the get-go.” Olsen started earlier in the season. “I need to perform in order to be on the court,” Olsen said. “I didn’t perform. I don’t disrespect anything the coaches have done. I probably would have done the same thing.” Previous Story Female kicker set for NFL regional combine tryout Next Story Leaving N. Korea, Rodman calls Kims 'great leaders'