Jokkue of Salt Lake City may not be in the quite the same league with Reebok and the Chrysler Californians, but as the 1988 U.S. Open Volleyball Championships move into final-day play today, Jokkue is right there with the Big Two in the women's open division.
"I'm not sure some of the other teams think we exist," said Coach Jean Widdison.They should now. Today at 10:30 a.m. in the Huntsman Center, Jokkue will meet defending champion Chrysler. The winner advance to the finals against Reebok of Mesa, Ariz.
Reebok, which would later knock off Chrysler in three games in the battle of the unbeatens, started Friday's play with a 15-5, 15-2 defeat of Jokkue. And twice Friday, Jokkue was one game from elimination in the tournament at the University of Utah. But the local team, made up of former Utah and BYU players, kept coming back.
After losing 13-11 to Armed Forces in a game shortened by the time limit, Jokkue came back for 15-6 and 15-8 wins. Against Burmys (ewport Beach, Calif.), the No. 3 seed following pool play, Jokue lost the first game 12-6 and trailed 6-0 in the second before Widdison's substitutions turned things around. Jokkue forced a third game with a 15-3 win and, using a late run with Diane Campbell serving, cruised to a 15-7 victory to stay alive in the tournament.
Jokkue added setter Makki Salmi from BYU and the Finnish national team for Friday's play and improved during each match. "I thought they played really well together," noted Widdison. "If we'd had her earlier, we'd have been more in tune with what was happening."
The women's open final will be at 6 p.m. today, following finals in the men's masters ( p.m.) and women's club divisons ( p.m.). The men's open championship will be decided at 8 p.m. Besides Reebok in the women's open, Billauer Chiropractic (arina del Rey, Calif.) in the men's masters, Texas Majic (ederland, Texas) in the women's club and Molten (orrance, Calif.) in the men's open are assured a place in the finals of their divisions. Their opponents will be determined in losers' bracket play this morning.
Titles were awarded in three divisions Friday.
Men's senior: Silverado of San Diego took a 15-5, 15-3 decision over the Herd Boars (est St. Paul, Minn.) in this new division of the tournament for men 30 and older.
Silverado player-coach Dave Olbright was named the division's player of the year after his team lost only one game in the tournament. The division had only six teams this year, but Olbright figures more teams will move up from the open division.
Olbright himself played on two open championship teams in the late 1970s, about the same time he was playing for both UCLA and the U.S. national team.
Teammates Alex Torres and Greg Giovannassi joined Olbright on the division's all-America team, along with Dalzen/Utah's Tom Peterson.
Women's senior: A true championship game was necessary, after Colorado Connection of Denver defeated the Spoilers (ermosa Beach, Calif.) 10-15, 15-7, 15-6. The Connection had come through the losers' bracket to earn the shot at the unbeaten Spoilers.
And in the championship playoff, the Connection took an easy 15-4 victory. Jerri McGahan, the team's player-coach and a veteran international and professional player, was the clear choice for division player of the year. McGahan played basketball for Utah State in the late '70s.
Men's golden masters: In this division for men 45 and older, Legends (os Alamitos, Calif.) defeated the Outrigger Canoe Club of Honolulu 15-9, 6-15, 15-2. A previous match between the two had also gone three games, with Legends winning.
Division player of the year Rich Referro led Outrigger in a losing effort.