Sports

Vulcans Overcome Slow Start to Defeat Fresno Pacific

October 29, 2013, 7:33 AM HST
* Updated October 29, 7:35 AM
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After a slow start Monday night, the University of Hawai`i at Hilo women’s volleyball team regrouped to defeat Fresno Pacific University in four sets.

Set scores were 15-25, 25-21, 25-16, 25-20.

“They played well,” said UH-Hilo head coach Tino Reyes in a post-match radio interview. “Maybe we’re turning the corner. I don’t know. I like what we did tonight.”

The first set was a struggle for the Vulcans early on. UH-Hilo committed four attack errors early in the opening frame to fall behind 8-2. The Vulcans hit .075 for the set, collecting 11 kills with eight errors, and never recovered from the sluggish start to drop the opening set.

“I think we’re trying to understand that we’re still learning to play with each other,” Reyes said. “If you look at the first game, we had eight hitting errors. We can’t stay in the game like that. We talked about that, and that’s been our nemesis.”

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The second set was tight early on until Callie Aberle recorded one of her 16 kills to put the Vulcans ahead 10-9. Freshman Kyndra Trevino-Scott added a kill on the next point, then combined with Sienna Davis to block FPU’s Jessie Alcorn to push the lead up to three. The lead ballooned as high as five before Aberle’s kill closed out the set.

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In the third, UH-Hilo scored 10 consecutive points to take a 12-2 lead, led by four Aberle kills. The Sunbirds, however, fought back with eight straight points to get within two, powered by five kills from Brazilian junior Rupia Inck.

“I kept looking at them and it was like, oh boy, here we go again,” said Reyes of the Sunbirds’ run. “We figured out a way to get the side out and turned the game around. We ended up getting a big lead again.”

UH-Hilo (8-11 overall, 3-11 PacWest) overcame the run and immediately got back on track with a kill from Trevino-Scott to take a 13-10 lead. The Vulcans never allowed another run from the Sunbirds to cruise to the third set victory.

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UH-Hilo committed errors on each of the first three points of the fourth set to fall behind, but made the points back up after a Trevino-Scott kill and a pair of Fresno Pacific errors. From there, the set was tight until Aberle took the match over.

Aberle, a junior transfer from Reno, Nev., smacked a pair of attacks down to give the Vulcans a 21-19 lead. Three points later, she added another kill, followed by a block assist with Trevino-Scott to give the Vulcans match point at 24-20. Trevino-Scott finished the match with a solo rejection of Rebecca Waller to give UH-Hilo its second straight victory.

“She was good,” Reyes said of Aberle. “When we were out of system and they knew the ball was coming to her, she ramped up two or three kills that she hit off the top of the block and didn’t get stuffed, so that was real huge.”

For the second consecutive match, the Vulcans had three hitters recording double-digit kill totals. Marley Strand-Nicolaisen, who earlier in the day was named PacWest Conference Women’s Volleyball Freshman of the Week, led the squad with 18 kills while recording 10 digs. Aberle and Trevino-Scott combined to add 31 more for the Vulcans, who hit .227 for the match.

Fresno Pacific (11-9, 6-7), who earlier in the day dropped out of the AVCA / Division II Women’s Volleyball Top 25 poll for the first time this season, lost for the third time out of four matches in its Hawai`i road trip.

Inck, a powerful outside hitter from Brazil, led all players with 22 kills. She also collected 14 digs and had a .232 attack percentage.

UH-Hilo’s long homestand continues with a visit from Notre Dame de Namur Wednesday night. The Argonauts defeated the Vulcans in five sets on Oct. 5. First serve is slated for 7:00 p.m. The match can be heard at ESPNHawaii.com

Fresno Pacific 25 21 16 20 – 1

Hawai`i Hilo 15 25 25 25 – 3

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