The ups and downs continued for the University of Hawaii at Hilo volleyball team Friday night in San Francisco. Patty Snel’s most efficient match of the season and another busy effort from Bria Morgan were just enough to put the Vulcans over the top.
Snel recorded 15 kills on .382 hitting and Morgan ripped a match-high 26 kills to spark UHH past Academy of Art University in five sets, 23-25, 25-21, 25-9, 17-25, 15-11.
Snel, a senior outside hitter, made only two errors and added a match-high 29 digs as UHH (3-9) evened its Pacific West Conference record at 3-3. Morgan, a freshman outside hitter who hit .121, has led her team in kills in all but one match this season. Her 91 swings Friday tied a career high. After losing eight of nine to open the season at home, the Vulcans took advantage of the last-place Urban Knights (3-11, 0-5) to improve to 2-1 on a five-match California road trip.
“The girls pulled out a win when we really weren’t playing that well,” UHH coach Tino Reyes said. “And that’s good for us.
In the decisive set, an Urban Knights hitting error and a kill by Morgan gave the Vulcans a 6-4 lead, and they never trailed again.
As usual, nothing came easy though for UHH. It didn’t make a hitting error in dominating the third set, then promptly turned around and hit only .023 in Game 4 as Academy of Art tied the match.
“We’re just hanging on by the skin of our teeth,” Reyes said. “Maybe if we had played like this (in a four-set loss to Dominican on Wednesday), things would have turned out differently there.”
Sophomore middle blocker Lindsay Elgin posted seven of her career-high 20 kills in the fourth set and made only two errors to finish with a robust .545 hitting percentage. Rachael Smith tallied 52 assists, but with the Urban Knights trailing 12-11 in Game 5, a pair of faulty sets by the freshman helped seal the match for UHH.
Freshmen setter Jolie Au registered 36 assists for the Vuls, while sophomore middle blockers Olivia Lane and Abbey Wade each added three kills. Senior outside hitter Melissa Chavez provided a spark with her serve early in Game 3, ripping five aces as UHH reeled off seven consecutive points to take an 8-0 lead.
UHH has a chance to pick up more momentum at 4 p.m. today when they face another winless PacWest foe, Notre Dame de Namur (1-12, 0-4), in Belmont, Calif.