By MATT GERHART
Tribune-Herald sports writer
Taking short sets and using compact swings, Kyndra Trevino-Scott had just put her stamp on the University of Hawaii at Hilo’s perfect season-opening homestand.
It obviously met her seal of approval.
“The first five, that was a really cool experience,” she said. “I mean, what freshman get to say, “Yeah, we’re 5-0?”
And what freshman get to say they’ve often been flawless while doing it?
UHH is 5-0, and with Trevino-Scott, the emphasis is on the 0. For the third time in her brief college career Monday night, she netted at least nine kills while not making an attack error.
Trevino-Scott played her high school volleyball in the ultra-competitive area in and around Sacramento, Calif., and she was good enough to garner offers to three schools in the Pacific West Conference.
But she was never quite as good as this. How’s she become such a quick study in college is a mystery even to her.
“Maybe it’s a little bit of luck, maybe it’s a little bit of skill,” she said. “I really don’t know.”
Whatever it is, it’s becoming a habit.
Trevino-Scott smacked 14 kills at UHH Gym in another error-free match as the Vulcans breezed past Fort Hays State 25-12, 25-20, 25-14.
“This is completely new for me,” said the 5-foot-11 middle blocker. “I’m a really hard worker.”
Working in perfect harmony with freshman setter Sienna Davis as usual, the reigning Pacific West Conference Freshman of the Week, hit a tidy .609 on her 23 swings.
“She’s getting 20-something sets every night,” coach Tino Reyes said. “The setter must like her out there.
“Sienna is getting it to her in a timely fashion and has a lot of confidence in her. And with good reason. It’s something that we’re not teaching, but they’re getting it.”
Trevino-Scott, who also considered offers from Grand Canyon and Hawaii Pacific, said that the fast friendship she’s forged with Davis can’t be underestimated.
“It’s meant the world,” said Trevino-Scott, who leads the team with 21 block assists. “That’s what you ask for as a middle is to have great chemistry with your setter.”
Because of it, she’s compiled 63 kills in five matches and boasts a league-leading .491 hitting percentage.
She dabbled between middle blocker and outside hitter at Bella Vista High School in Penryn, Calif., and was recruited by Reyes to man the middle — which some may consider less flashy than outside hitter.
And that’s just fine with Trevino-Scott.
“Honestly, I love middle so much, I would rather play middle than outside any day of the week,” she said. “It’s definitely a lot more instinct. Outside you have a lot more time to think and play. In the middle, you see and you go.”
UHH already has exceeded its win total from last season, albeit against mostly struggling competition. Alaska-Anchorage, which was swept in Hilo on Aug. 31, is 5-3, but the Vulcans’ other three opponents are a combined 0-15.
“We don’t have a signature win,” Reyes said. “Are we ahead of schedule? I don’t know. But we’re moving in the right direction, at least.”
Freshman outside Marley Strand-Nicolaisen has had her hand in the transformation as well.
The Ka‘u High School graduate posted 10 kills Monday night and leads UHH with 67 while attacking at a .159 rate. While the statistics may show that she’s gone through a hitting slump, Reyes said her position and workload make the numbers deceiving.
“What people don’t understand is that she’s got to hit some deep balls out of the back row, because she’s our best back-row attacker,” Reyes said. “She’s got to hit a lot of junk sets when the pass is bad. There’s other places she can hang her hat on. She just busted out a jump-serve.”
Strand-Nicolaisen is second on the team in aces with 10 — defensive specialist Kelia Parrilla has 11 — and her 48 digs are behind only Callie Aberle’s 51.
Aberle, a junior outside hitter who saw reduced playing time Monday night as Reyes got more of his reserves playing time, is third on the team with 41 kills (.183).
After five games in 12 days, UHH gets some time off. The annual alumnae match is Saturday, and then the Vuls head to Oahu to start the PacWest against Hawaii Pacific and BYU-Hawaii on Sept. 20-21.
“I think this team deserves a break,” Trevino-Scott said. “I’m OK with the break.
“What I loved about this conference in my recruitment is that they were all super competitive. I just took a chance and it’s worked out really well.”