Staring a 10-match losing streak straight in the face, the University of Hawaii at Hilo volleyball team didn’t wilt.
Instead, the youthful Vulcans sprouted.
Freshman Kyndra Trevino-Scott tallied seven of her 15 kills in the fifth set Wednesday night and UHH fought off three match points to turn back Azusa Pacific 19-25, 26-24, 17-25, 25-18, 16-14 at its gym.
“I can’t believe that we pulled it off,” coach Tino Reyes said after the Vulcans earned their first victory since Sept. 9.
“It’s pretty surreal. The girls kind of grew up.”
UHH (6-9, 1-9 Pacific West Conference) was outhit (.327-.249), outdug (77-70) and outblocked (8-5) by the Cougars (12-6, 5-4), but not outdone.
“It turned early,” Reyes said, “but somehow they figured out how to do it. Those are good things for us.”
Trevino-Scott saved UHH’s first match point with a kill to cut the Cougars lead in Game 5 to 14-12, and then the Vulcans reeled off three consecutive points powered by the serve of Kelia Parilla. The senior’s ace tied the set at 14-14, freshman Marley Strand-Nicolaisen’s 19th kill gave UHH the lead and freshman Sienna Davis’ block delivered the victory.
All three of Parilla’s aces were timely — two came during a spurt as UHH took the lead for good in the fourth set. The Vulcans also jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the fifth set with Parilla serving.
“Kelia’s serve really helped us,” Reyes said. “That put them out of system.”
Freshman Allee Johnson registered five of her 18 kills in the fourth set for the Vulcans, but none came in Game 5. Strand-Nicolaisen, meanwhile, only had one kill in the decisive set.
However, UHH is increasingly able to rely on Trevino-Scott to take on a bigger role. The middle blocker added a career-high 16 digs for her first double-double.
“We decided to expand her role, because when she touches the ball goods things happen,” Reyes said. “One of the things that she does is that if the set is not real good, she keeps the ball in play.”
Mattie Shelford posted 24 kills on 50 swings and Christy Cain smacked 16 kills and hit .464 for Azusa Pacific.
Junior Stacey Witt contributed nine kills for the Vulcans.
Continuing their eight-match homestand, the Vulcans welcome first-place Point Loma (16-3, 10-0) to UHH Gym for a match at 7 p.m. Saturday.