Hawaii flexes its muscle in back-to-back sweeps of the Waves
POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Mar 6, 2011
That sound was the Hawaii volleyball team "clicking."
"That was definitely it," left-side hitter Joshua Walker said following the Warriors' 25-20, 25-15, 25-19 rout of Pepperdine last night in the Stan Sheriff Center.
A crowd of 2,552 witnessed the Warriors win the rematch and earn consecutive three-set sweeps of the Waves for the first time since 1996. The Warriors have won four consecutive meetings between the teams, including last year's playoff victory.
"That's a very good team," Pepperdine coach Marv Dunphy said.
By dominating all phases, the Warriors earned their first series sweep of the year to improve to 8-9 overall and 6-6 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation. The Waves fell to 6-9 and 4-9.
The outcome was decided from two key areas — behind the service line and in the training room.
Despite a sprained right ankle that required a brace, opposite attacker Jonas Umlauft slammed 16 kills and hit .560. Two of his kills ricocheted off the unprotected left shoulders of Wave players.
Shane Welch, playing in place of injured middle blocker Brennon Dyer, had his hand prints on five of the Warriors' 9.5 blocks. Welch also had four kills without an error.
Umlauft suffered his injury during Wednesday's practice. That night, his ankle was swollen and his weekend availability in question.
"Our trainers did a really good job," said Umlauft, who had 15 kills in Friday's match. "I got treatment three times a day, and that really helped."
Walker said: "We're roommates, and considering his condition when he came back to the room (that day), he was hobbling and stuff. (On Friday), I was like, 'Jonas, stop milking it. We know you're going to be fine for the game.' I had no idea he would play like that this weekend."
But for all of the production — Walker contributed 11 kills, and left-side hitter Steven Hunt hit .364 — the pulled string that eventually unraveled the Waves came from Warriors' serves.
The Warriors scored 31 points on 73 serves. The Waves managed 13 points on 56 serves.
In the second set, the Warriors were perfect, not committing an error on 25 serves. They scored 13 points on plays initiated by their serves, including three aces. The Warriors led 10-7 before setter Nejc Zemljak served five points in row, including a breaking-pitch ace that fell in front of Parker Kalmbach.
"Nejc's turn was pretty impressive," UH coach Charlie Wade said. "What we strive for is perfection and guys really getting after it."
Zemljak mixed his serves — sizzlers with a heavy top spin, floaters that forced the Waves to pass with their hands.
"I had more (serving) turns," Zemljak said. "If I'm not limited to one serve, I can do different things. Thanks to the blockers and diggers — they made some plays — and that allowed me to serve some more."
Maurice Torres, the Waves' sophomore opposite attacker, struggled in Friday's match. Last night, he had the power — a third of his 31 swings were from the back row — and he amassed 17 kills. But the Warriors shaded their block, obstructing the path of Torres' angle shots. Torres committed nine attack errors, and was blocked four times.
"He swings hard," Walker said of Torres. "You have to get in front of him, and hope the ball hits your arms."
Torres did not receive much support. Cory Riecks, a go-to hitter last season, has focused more on his defense and passing this year. He had three kills, hit .000 and was replaced midway through the third set. The Waves' other starting left-side hitter, Beau Vandeweghe, was replaced in the second set.
"We had two big (matches) from the serving line," Umlauft said. "That's how we're going to win, with good serving."
And a spread-the-wealth offense.
"They have a pretty good in-system offense," Dunphy said. "They have good arms. We knew that coming in."
|Waves (6-9, 4-9 MPSF)|
|Rainbow Warriors (8-9, 6-6 MPSF)|
Key -- s: games; k: kills; e: hitting errors; att: attempts; pct: hitting percentage; d: digs; bs: block solo; ba: block assists; pts: points (kills plus blocks plus aces)
Aces — PU: none. Hawaii (4): Welch, Walker, Zemljak, Biscaro. Service Errors — PU (6): Crider 2, Torres 2, Riecks, Kalmbach. Hawaii (9): Walker 4, Welch 2, Umlauft, Zemljak, Biscaro. Assists — PU (34): Crider 28, Jaynes 2, McMahon 2, Pollock, Kalmbach. Hawaii (38): Zemljak 34, Castello 3, Hunt. T — 1:32. Officials — Dan Hironaka, Wayne Lee. A — 3,606.
|Brigham Young||9||5||.649||3 1/2||13-6|
|Long Beach State||8||5||.615||4||9-7|
|UC Irvine||8||6||.571||4 1/2||11-9|
|UC Santa Barbara||9||7||.562||4 1/2||11-8|
|UC San Diego||3||12||.200||10||6-14|
USC def. BYU, 25-18, 23-25, 25-16, 22-25, 15-10
Hawaii def. Pepperdine, 25-20, 25-15, 25-19
UC Irvine def. Pacific, 25-23, 25-23, 25-16
Stanford def. UC San Diego, 25-22, 22-25, 25-21, 25-17
No games scheduled.