POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Jan 24, 2011
Brennon Dyer saw red coming into the matches with Stanford. Cardinal red.
The Hawaii senior was 0-for-ever — or so it felt — in his career against the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation volleyball foe. And, until Friday's sweep of the Cardinal, Dyer and Hawaii's other two seniors — Joshua Walker and Nejc Zemljak — had never beaten Stanford in three very long years.
Beyond the 0-7 team result, Dyer hadn't had much success personally. The undersized middle turned outside hitter turned opposite turned back into a middle had a combined seven kills in five matches against Stanford coming into the week.
Playing on a bad ankle sprain, Dyer had a decent night Friday in UH's win, with three kills and no errors on four attempts and was in on four blocks.
Last night's rematch at the Stan Sheriff Center? The left ankle wasn't better, but Dyer's offensive game was (10 kills and one error on 16 swings).
He'd trade all the kills in for another win over No. 2 Stanford. Hawaii had two swings at downing the defending NCAA champions for the second time in three nights, but couldn't finish it off and the Cardinal walked off with a 25-21, 17-25, 25-19, 34-36, 17-15 victory after 2 hours and 54 minutes.
The exhausted Dyer delayed receiving the customary postmatch lei, resting his aching knees and the heavily taped ankle. And shaking his head.
"I don't know what happened," he said. "I thought we had it. No, we DID have it.
"For me, I only had three blocks and I'm a middle BLOCKER, not a middle HITTER. Kind of a bummer when we don't accomplish what we've been working on. We are doing everything correctly, we're getting quantity reps, quality reps, we're preparing correctly. We've got the stuff to win. We just have to prepare for (UC) San Diego now."
Dyer will continue to work on his serve. The deep floater gave the Cardinal fits, but his two service errors also gave Stanford two points.
"He's been serving great," Walker said. "That float (serve) puts a lot of pressure on teams, makes it a lot harder on the passers. Even Erik (Stanford All-America libero Shoji) was struggling a little and he's one of the best liberos in the nation.
"(Dyer) is one of those players every team needs. He's our utility guy. And it just shows how hard a worker he is, to continue to play with pain."
During the Outrigger Hotels Invitational, Dyer played three different positions in the loss to UCLA. He started at middle, moved to left-side hitter and, without Jonas Umlauft in the lineup against the Bruins, the 6-foot-4 senior moved to opposite.
"He's a good all-around player," Hawaii coach Charlie Wade said. "Yes, he is undersized for a middle, but he works hard, has a quick jump, a quick arm. And a good float serve. He was a bit hobbled, but he was effective for us."
Hawaii heads out on its first road trip with a 1-4 record, 1-1 in MPSF.
"I think we confirmed we are a good team and that we can compete with anybody," Wade said. "Now we have to go on the road and make it happen."