POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Feb 12, 2011
LAST UPDATED: 05:27 a.m. HST, Feb 12, 2011
Proving the best routines can be traced to the set-up man, Hawaii pounded out a 25-21, 25-21, 25-17 volleyball victory over California Baptist last night in the Stan Sheriff Center.
A crowd of 1,844 watched the Warriors hit .486, committing only seven attack errors in 72 swings.
"Our setter did a great job," UH opposite attacker Jonas Umlauft said of senior co-captain Nejc Zemljak. "He was running a good offense. That helped the hitters. Sometimes you don't see how well he's doing because the hitters (get credited) for all of the success. But it's all based on the sets."
In improving to 4-6 overall, the Warriors outmaneuvered the NAIA's No. 1 volleyball team. The Lancers, who are moving up to NCAA Division II next season, actually can offer more financial aid than NCAA members while having more flexible eligibility windows.
What's more, the Lancers (10-4) had won nine in a row. They opened the season with an upset of UC Irvine, ranked No. 1 in the NCAA Division I-II preseason poll.
But all of that mattered little during a match in which the Warriors served tough, passed well and hit accurately.
"I felt we were a pretty good serve-receive team this year," CBU coach Ryan McGuyre said. "But we never slowed them down. Their offense did great."
The Lancers targeted left-side hitter Joshua Walker early. But Walker was able to pass 20 serves without an error. On one, Walker shanked a serve, but Zemljak chased it down on the Lancers' side of the court. Zemljak fed Walker, who slammed a kill.
"Nejc did a nice job," UH head coach Charlie Wade said.
Said UH libero Nick Castello: "The main thing is we wanted to be locked in from the get-go, especially passing-wise. The emphasis this whole week was consistent passing. If we passed consistently, that gets us into system, and frees up weapons for us."
Indeed, for the first time this season, the accurate passes enabled Zemljak to repeatedly have the option of setting the middle quickly. Brennon Dyer, UH's senior middle, had seven kills and no errors in 13 swings.
With the middle a threat, the Lancers could not slide a full block to the corners. Umlauft pounded 18 kills and hit .600. Walker and Steven Hunt, the other left-side hitter, often faced a solo block. Walker hammered 10 kills and hit .562. Hunt contributed five loud kills.
"Everybody was super dialed in," Zemljak said. "We had great passing. The hitters got their feet (to attacking positions). Everybody played amazing. I think everybody was involved. Everybody did their job. It was easy for me."
Wade indicated it was a matter of basics.
"We passed well, and obviously the correlation is the better you pass, the greater a chance you'll hit for a higher number," Wade said.
The Warriors also were able to use serves to disrupt the Lancers' rhythm, scoring nine points on Walker's 18 serves. Dyer, who has conquered ankle and back problems, resumed jump-serving. The Warriors scored six points on his 18 serves. And designated server Sam Biscaro produced three points on six serves.
"Sam did a nice job," Wade said. "At this level, there's such a small margin of error. If we can get 5 percent better in any rotation, that's big."