Sports

Vulcan Volleyball Outlasts Chaminade in Five Sets

October 29, 2015, 4:11 PM HST
* Updated October 29, 4:15 PM
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The University of Hawai’i at Hilo women’s volleyball team may have a hard time putting out a healthy lineup right now, but they aren’t struggling to leave every ounce of grit and energy in the court against tough competition.

UH-Hilo dug deep Wednesday night, overcoming a rough start to defeat rival Chaminade in five sets to sweep the season series against the Silverswords and close out a five-match homestand.

Set scores were 24-26, 25-21, 18-25, 25-20, 16-14.

“These girls threw their hearts out on the floor,” said UH-Hilo coach Tino Reyes. “We didn’t have any technical things to tell them. We just told them that we gotta win this game and we gotta have heart. That’s it.”

UH-Hilo (9-6 overall, 7-5 PacWest) did not come out of the gate strong to start the match. Chaminade opened the first set on an 9-3 run, thanks to four service aces. Morgan Lees misplayed a few serves that came her way, and was quickly replaced by Siera Green.

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Chaminade (14-6, 7-5) quickly pushed its lead out to 16-8, but UH-Hilo slowly ripped away at the lead. The Vulcans would eventually tie it up at 24-24 when Chaminade’s Cassie Rushlow could get her own attack on play, but an attack error by Green and a kill by Keani Passi closed out the first set for the Silverswords.

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The Vulcans carried the momentum of the first set comeback into the second, where they cruised by the Silverswords, and continued it into a 6-0 start in the third set. Chaminade turned the tables on UH-Hilo almost immediately in the third set, taking an 11-10 lead. Later in the set, the Silverswords scored nine points in a row to go up 24-15. The Vulcans fought off four set points, but ultimately fell 25-18.

Set four featured another strong start by UH-Hilo, taking an early 11-3 lead in the set. This time, the Vulcans wouldn’t give that up, forcing a deciding fifth set.

Both squads held early leads to open the fifth set, but the Vulcans took control with kills from Marley Strand-Nicolaisen and Morgan Lees to go ahead 11-10. Both teams continued to trade points from that moment, with Strand-Nicolaisen tallying another kill to put UH-Hilo up 15-14. On match point, Chaminade’s Reigna Johnson pushed her shot long, allowing the Vulcans to celebrate in front of a crowd of just over 200 people.

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Stepping up to help pace UH-Hilo was junior middle Kyndra Trevino Scott, who tallied a season-high 15 kills and hit .333 for the match. Nine of her kills came from the third set on.

“Anything we can get out of the middles is a blessing,” Reyes explained.

Strand-Nicolaisen put together another all-around solid performance. She led UH-Hilo with 22 kills, 25 digs, and four service aces. Lees added 10 kills and 15 digs.

Passi, a transfer from the University of Hawai’i, led everyone with 24 kills on 68 attempts. She also added 12 digs. Kim Spring added 11 kills.

Three different setters saw time on the floor for UH-Hilo. Elizabeth Nizzoli got the start in just her fourth match of the season, playing with an upper right leg injury. Junior Sienna Davis came off of the bench, playing with an injured ankle. Occasionally, freshman Harley Woolsey got a few plays in at the position.

It was the fourth consecutive time that Chaminade had been driven to the brink, and the Silverswords fell to 2-2 in that span and 5-3 this season in five sets. Chaminade dropped a home match to UH-Hilo in five sets last month.

Chaminade 26 21 25 20 14 – 2

Hawai’i-Hilo 24 25 18 25 16 – 3

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