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Umlauft’s X-factor

  • JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARADVERTISER.COM
    Jonas Umlauft will be the big change for the Warriors when they play UCLA again.
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For tonight’s volleyball rematch between Hawaii and host UCLA, scrap the notes and videos from last month’s meeting at the Outrigger Invitational.

"Hawaii will be different this time," UCLA coach Al Scates said of today’s match in Pauley Pavilion. "The last time, they didn’t have the big guy."

In UCLA’s three-set sweep Jan. 15, the Warriors were without 6-foot-9 opposite attacker Jonas Umlauft, who was suffering from flu-like symptoms. The previous night, Umlauft had 28 kills. Against UCLA, the Warriors received seven kills from the opposite position.

Umlauft will be in today’s lineup, and "that will be a huge difference," Scates said. "We played against him last year, and we have a lot of video of him, and he’s a very good player."

Umlauft, a sophomore from Germany, has embraced the go-to role. This season, he is averaging 5.33 kills per set, up from 5.29 last year, despite sets being played to 25 points this season.

He has amassed at least 20 kills in six of 10 matches this season, while hitting above .300 seven times.

In a strategy designed to add a few points to each match, backup setter Sam Biscaro has emerged as the designated server. Teams are allowed one substitution per player each set, and in the past weekend’s matches against California Baptist, the Warriors chose to use Biscaro with the exemption. Replacing the second middle blocker, Biscaro’s 13 serves resulted in six UH points (46.2 percent). The goal is 35 percent scoring success.

The Bruins also will be presenting a different look since the last meeting.

Kyle Caldwell, who won the setter’s job in the fall, did not play in the Outrigger Invitational because of a jammed thumb on his left (hitting) hand. Alex Scattareggia started at setter and has not relinquished the position.

After healing, Caldwell moved to opposite. Caldwell is a power hitter with range, a disruptive server and, at 6 feet 9, an imposing blocker.

"He’s left-handed, and I like left-handers in that spot," Scates said of the position that is aligned mostly on the right side.

In the past four matches, Robart Page supplanted Jeremy Casebeer as the left-side hitter. Page is 7 feet.

"He gives us a good blocker in the lineup," Scates said. "He’ll be a fine player."

For his height, Page is a surprisingly accurate passer.

The Warriors, who arrived in Los Angeles on Tuesday night, practiced yesterday at UCLA’s Student Activity Center. Like Pauley Pavilion, the SAC has a high ceiling and ample floor space surrounding the court.

With both basketball teams receiving high priority with the Pauley, the Bruins conduct all of their volleyball practices in the student center.

"We haven’t had one practice in Pauley, and we won’t practice there this year," Scates said. "They’re going to start renovations after the (basketball) season."

Because of Pauley’s high use, the TeraFlex flooring will not be installed for today’s match. The teams will play on basketball’s wooden court.

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