Editor’s note: This story first appeared at www.hawaiitribune-herald.com
The Mendoza Line is a baseball expression, but University of Hawaii at Hilo volleyball coach Tino Reyes borrows the term to measure his team’s hitting.
The Vulcans fell below Mendoza’s .200 benchmark in Thursday night’s loss against Chaminade as — to borrow another baseball analogy — UHH finished 0 for 3 in the key facets.
“We made too many hitting errors, we didn’t pass the ball well and we didn’t serve well,” Reyes said after the Silverswords won 23-25, 25-23, 25-18, 26-24 at UHH Gym to hand the Vulcans their third straight setback to start the Pacific West Conference season.
Freshmen Marley Strand-Nicolaisen and Kyndra Trevino-Scott each led UHH (5-3, 0-3 PacWest) with 15 kills, but the Vulcans hit just .149. Trevino-Scott attacked at a .355 rate, but Strand-Nicolaisen was at .145, while Callie Aberle (.000) had seven kills against seven errors.
Kim Spring posted a match-high 19 kills and Kapiolani Rapoza added 10 and each was above .300 as the Silverswords (4-4, 1-2) hit .254.
UHH is in danger of losing all the momentum it gained from a 5-0 start. On Saturday, UHH hosts Hawaii Pacific (9-2, 3-0), which comes in after beating No. 4 BYU-Hawaii in five sets at home on Thursday night.
Not only are the Vulcans’ errors compounding, but they’re coming at inopportune times.
“Chaminade played well and did what they needed to do,” Reyes said. “We shoot ourselves in the foot with hitting error after hitting error. We talked about not missing serves after 20 points, or not missing serves after a timeout. And at critical junctures, we miss those serves.”
UHH had six aces against seven service errors.
Chaminade raced to a 10-3 lead in the third set to take control and never trailed again. UHH rallied to force a 21-21 tie in Game 4, but kills by Spring and Rapoza ended the match.
Freshman Allee Johnson provided UHH with a spark midway through the match with six kills, but she made five errors and hit .067.
The men’s and women’s teams begin their only mainland road trip of the season today against Point Loma in San Diego.
Freshman Jenna Huford has recorded three shutouts as the stingy Lady Vulcans (4-0-1, 1-0 PacWest) have allowed only two goals on the season.
Natalie Swift is the greatest threat to score for the Sea Lions (2-3-1, 1-0-1), picked to finish third in the preseason league poll. The midfielder has produced half of her team’s goal production, finding the back of the net three times.
After the 8 a.m. HST women’s match, the men play at 10:30 a.m.
Point Loma (3-3-1, 1-0-1) is tied for the PacWest lead with 12 goals in seven games — paced by three apiece from Daniel ten Bosch and Nico Tagaloa.
Led by goalkeeper Yonha Adrabi’s two shutouts, the Vulcans (3-1, 1-0) have allowed a league-low three goals in four matches.
Coming off fifth-place finishes — relative to Division II and III competition — in their first two meets of the season, the Lady Vulcans run today at the Hawaii Pacific Invitational in Kaneohe, Oahu.
On Oahu last weekend at the University of Hawaii’s Big Wave Invitational, Vulcans freshman Megan Washburn was 37th overall and junior Jordan Concannon finished 40th.