At least the broom wasn’t brought out, again, and the University of Hawaii showed some fight against Nebraska-Kearney, the No. 4 ranked team in the country.
However, the Vulcans avoided a sweep but not a second straight loss and got served with another reminder that life without Hillary Hurley—who led the nation with 6.48 kills per set last season, even topping Division I players — won’t be a bed of roses.
For consolation, UHH can rest assured that the Lopers are no ordinary team. They’ve made 13 straight appearances at the NCAA Division II tournament. They’re coming off a 32-2 season, which produced a final No. 9 ranking.
Nebraska-Kearney hammered the Vulcans 25-14, 25-9, 17-25, 25-12 at UHH Gym in the Vulcan Classic, needing just 1 hour and 39 minutes and posting lopsided numbers in the stat department.
Bria Morgan led the Vuls (0-2) with 16 kills, but she committed 10 errors, took 61 swings and hit just .098, nearly identical to the team’s .093 hitting percentage.
Patty Snel posted a double-double with 11 kills and 14 digs. She hit .146 and that was pretty much the end of UHH’s highlights as far as stats.
UHH coach Tino Reyes focused on the positive strides his young team made in Game 3.
“If we can play at that level we can be competitive,” Reyes said. “We moved the outside hitters into different spots and served better in that set. “
The Lopers blasted balls at a .331 clip, outblocked UHH (10-5), had more digs (71-44) and featured far more assists (51-30), a sign of ball-control; good for Nebraska-Kearney, not so much for the Vuls.
Ellie Pesavento had a night to email her family about: 15 kills, only two errors on 21 swings for a smoking .619 hitting percentage. Ariel Krolikowski also lit up the Vuls; she smashed 16 kills, made just three errors on 33 attempts, and hit .394.
Kaleigh Anderson had 19 digs to lead four Lopers in double-digits, a disturbing sign for the Vuls that whatever they hit often didn’t touch the floor. UHH took 140 swings; Nebraska-Kearney needed just 118.
Today, UHH plays British Columbia at 11 a.m. and Augustana College, which swept UHH on Thursday, at 7 p.m.