Vulcan Volleyball Falls Flat to #25 Point Loma
University of Hawai`i at Hilo women’s volleyball head coach Tino Reyes said after Wednesday’s victory that he would wait until Saturday to determine if his team turned the corner on its season.
He didn’t have to wait long Saturday to do it after his Vulcans were swept by Point Loma Nazarene, ranked 25th in the American Volleyball Coaches Association / NCAA Division II Top 25 poll.
Set scores were 25-19, 25-21, 25-17.
“I don’t think we made a big jump,” Reyes said simply in his post-match radio interview.
UH Hilo (6-10 overall, 1-10 PacWest) found itself in a deep hole early in the opening set, trailing 10-5 before using a timeout. The Vulcans later trailed 20-13 before using one more timeout to try to stop the Sea Lions’ momentum, but ultimately fell.
Freshman Marley Strand-Nicolaisen, with the Ka`u High School volleyball team watching in the stands, tried to carry her team in the first set, recording nine kills. The Na`alehu native was held to 14 kills for the night.
“She was real good, but in Wednesday’s game, we had three hitters who had fairly good numbers for us,” said Reyes. “We can’t live by one player, as you can see. The coaches know how to coach in this league and they keyed on her and her numbers fell and made it a little easier for them.”
The other two hitters from Wednesday night that Reyes referred to, Allee Johnson and Kyndra Trevino-Scott, combined to record just 13 kills. On Wednesday, they combined for 33.
Trevino-Scott’s role was adjusted going into the third set. After showing some success in the back row and attacking from the edges, Reyes got her back closer to the net in the third set. “We trotted out this new lineup wit Kyndra hitting on the left side. Then, after the second set, we looked at her numbers and her numbers didn’t dictate that she should play there. We ended up going back to our original lineup and, low and behold, it was worse than our other lineup.”
Reyes had to shake up his lineup to start the match after Johnson missed most of the beginning of the match. She didn’t practice Friday after dealing with flu-like symptoms.
Reyes believed his squad showed the most fight in the second set despite only holding one lead, a 1-0 advantage to open the frame. The Vulcans only committed three errors in the set and picked up a pair of blocks on Point Loma’s attackers.
The third set rapidly ran away from the Vulcans. Point Loma went on a 7-0 scoring run to take a 15-7 lead just over halfway through the set. A few points later, following a kill from PLNU’s Cayleen Harty, Reyes was trying to get a substitution in the match, but several Vulcans seemed confused as to who was supposed to get in the match, forcing a timeout. The Sea Lions were able to quickly put it away after that.
Point Loma (18-4, 12-1) was playing its third match in as many night. The Sea Lions defeated Chaminade Thursday and fell in four sets to fifth-ranked BYU-Hawai`i Friday night in Laie. PLNU flew in to Hilo at about 1:30 in the afternoon before playing the Vulcans to wrap up its Hawai`i road trip.
Not everything was positive for the visiting team. Starting setter Savannah Wedemeyer, who entered the match leading the PacWest in assists per set, left the match in the first set after injuring her left leg going after a loose ball near the net. She did not return.
Kelli LeClair lead the Sea Lions with 18 kills and two aces while Heather Leavitt added 14 kills and 14 diggs. Point Loma hit .340 for the match.
Point Loma Nazarene 25 25 25 – 3
Hawai`i-Hilo 19 21 17 – 0