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Hawaii Turns Northridge Errors Into Another Win

February 28, 1986|KAREN KINGSBURY

John Buffington looked down at the gymnasium floor and shook his head. He and the other Cal State Northridge volleyball players had just lost to the University of Hawaii in three games, 15-11, 15-6, 15-11. It was the second California Intercollegiate Volleyball Assn. loss to the Rainbow Warriors in a week.

And Buffington knew only too well why his team lost.

"Just too many errors," Buffington said, "like hitting out of bounds and not passing the ball right. They're getting points without putting the ball away or really blocking us.

"All we needed was a couple more points. I know we could beat 'em. Every time it's the same thing, just too many errors."

The 6-3 middle blocker made very few himself, however, as he led CSUN (1-7) with an all-around performance that included nine kills, two perfect serves, several blocked hits and aggressive defense.

CSUN Coach John Price agrees with Buffington. The team has a knack for making errors at all the wrong times.

"We did not execute the fundamentals," Price said. "It's just part of the roller coaster."

The ride began in the first game, with Hawaii leading, 10-4. At that time, CSUN's Mike Bird served two aces as the Matadors scored a quick five in a row.

But Hawaii's Allen Allen, an All-American, put a stop to CSUN's rally. Allen took to the air, leaping up and slamming the volleyball down three times during five rallies as Hawaii, ranked fourth in the NCAA, secured the lead.

It was more down than up for CSUN in the second game, despite powerful hitting by Buffington and Chuck English, who racked up 13 kills. The errors came in the form of several missed serves, and Hawaii (5-1) took an early 9-1 lead.

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