After Day 4 of the 1988 U.S. Open Volleyball Championships, the only Utah team left in this "Nationals in the Rockies" event was one that's probably playing in the wrong division.
But Jokkue of Salt Lake City was working hard to stay alive in the tough women's open division. After finishing 2-3 in pool play in the six-team division, Jokkue opened the double-elimination championship stage of the tournament Thursday afternoon with a 15-9, 15-3 victory over Inland of Gainesville, Fla.Jokkue, made up of two former University of Utah players and the rest from BYU, considered playing in the women's club division instead of taking on professionals in the open class. But the team seemed to improve through two days of pool play, and was expected to have a clear idea of its title chances today after playing unbeaten Reebok of Mesa, Ariz.
"They're starting to get used to each other," said Coach Jean Widdison, who's the basketball coach at Salt Lake Community College and hopes to start a volleyball program.
By doing that, Widdison would be taking a page from former Utah State Coach Marilyn McReavy, who revived the University of Florida program five years ago and last season reached the NCAA's final 16. This Inland team has most of Florida's returning players, but is struggling in the open division.
With Cheryl Tye, Sari Stevens and Diane Campbell leading the way, Jokkue made fairly easy work of Inland. Widdison could have been thinking of both these teams when she said, "They're doing well, for what they're up against."
In the women's club division, Dig It of Bountiful won two tournament matches before being eliminated. Dalzen/Utah of Provo made a little run in the men's senior division, but was knocked out after three matches.
Championship matches are scheduled today at the Huntsman Center in three divisions _ men's senior (4 p.m.), women's senior (6 p.m.) and golden masters (8 p.m.). Saturday's finals will be in men's masters (2 p.m.), women's club (4 p.m.), women's open (6 p.m.) and men's open (8 p.m.).
Through Thursday, Silverado of San Diego was the last remaining unbeaten team in the men's seniors, while Billauer Chiropractic (Marina del Rey, Calif.) avenged a pool-play loss to Boys Week Out (Alameda, Calif.) with a 15-6, 15-5 victory in the men's masters tournament. Billauer is one of four unbeatens in that division, along with Outrigger Canoe Club of Honolulu, with Tom Selleck on the roster but still a no-show this week.
In the men's open division, defending champ Molten (Torrance, Calif.) is still the favorite.