UH-Hilo Shuts Down Academy of Art in Five Sets
Marley Strand-Nicolaisen had a career night Thursday for the University of Hawai’i at Hilo women’s volleyball team.
Strand-Nicolaisen, a junior from Ka’u, slammed down a match-best 26 kills and hit .310 to help the Vulcans recover from a 2-1 deficit to defeat Academy of Art in five sets.
Set scores were 24-26, 25-11, 24-26, 25-15, and 15-9.
“They put their hearts out there on the floor tonight,” UH-Hilo head coach Tino Reyes said after the match. “If we were going to win this match tonight, our left side hitters were going to have to be better than their left side hitters, and tonight, I think we were.”
Strand-Nicolaisen, along with junior Morgan Lees, combined for a stronger one-two punch on the outside than Academy of Art’s duo of Melissa Brum and Stine Raben. Nicolaisen hit .310 for the match and Lees knocked home 16 kills on a .300 attack percentage. As a team, the Vulcans hit .295.
UH-Hilo (3-2 overall, 1-1 PacWest) led 18-12 in the first set and seemed to have an early grasp of the momentum, but Academy of Art quickly fought back. The Urban Knights rattled off four consecutive points at the end of the frame, including the Vulcans’ only set point opportunity, and closed the set on a kill from Raben to take the first.
Raben, a freshman from Germany, led Academy of Art with 15 kills. She also had 15 digs. Brum, an AVCA All-American Honorable Mention selection from last season, added 13 kills and 20 digs.
After quickly dispatching of the Urban Knights in the second set, the Vulcans had a chance to take a 2-1 lead, but had set point spoiled and gave up three consecutive points to lose the third set.
Academy of Art (4-6, 0-2) couldn’t keep pace in the fourth set and stumbled out the blocks in the fifth set, falling behind 9-3. A setting error wrapped up the set of the mach.
UH-Hilo heads to the road for the first time this season on Saturday to face rival Chaminade University. First serve is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Academy of Art 26 11 26 15 9 – 2
Hawai’i-Hilo 24 25 24 25 15 – 3