Hawaii controlled its serves and then Long Beach State for a 25-23, 27-25, 25-17 volleyball victory last night in the Walter Pyramid.
By winning their sixth in a row, the Warriors completed a two-match road sweep of the 49ers, and remained in a third-place tie with Brigham Young in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation.
The Warriors will remain in California through Tuesday, then depart for Utah in preparation for matches against BYU on Thursday and Friday. UH and BYU are both 10-6 in MPSF matches. The top eight teams qualify for the MPSF tournament, with the top four hosting opening-round matches.
Although the Warriors have clinched at least a split of this four-match road trip, head coach Charlie Wade said, “.500 on the road is pretty good, but at this point, we want more than that.”
Last night’s tone was established behind the service line. The Warriors served inbounds 95 percent of the time, scoring points on 27 of 75 serves (36 percent). In comparison, 86.6 percent of the 49ers’ serves were in play, resulting in 19 points (28.3 percent).
The Warriors scored points on four of middle blocker Jarrod Lofy’s nine float serves. In each set, a substitute server took Lofy’s place behind the line; each time, the replacement failed to produce a point. In the two matches, Lofy’s 26 serves have produced 15 points, prompting the coaches to consider not pulling him as a server.
“We absolutely talked about that,” Wade said. “He’s starting to drive his serves pretty good.”
In UH’s rotation, pin hitters Jonas Umlauft, Joshua Walker and Steven Hunt are jump-spike servers. Setter Nejc Zemljak mixes speeds off a jump-serve motion. Lofy serves off a standing motion.
“Its nice to get some diversity,” Wade said of Lofy’s off-speed serves. “They’re not always getting the same look.”
But the Warriors have been getting predictable output from Umlauft and Walker. Umlauft slammed a match-high 22 kills and hit .350. He closed the first set with three consecutive kills.
“When Jonas is on a roll, he’s unstoppable,” Wade said.
Walker, hitting mostly from the front-left and middle-back, conjured 14 kills and hit .345.
In the third set, Hunt had four kills in eight swings and made two blocks, included a solo rejection of 49ers opposite attacker Jim Baughman.
“Hunt was really good in that set,” Wade said. “He had a really good match.”
The 49ers scrambled for answers. They opened with Jeff Ornee at middle in place of Ryan Meehan. After the second set, they replaced setter Mike Klipsch. But the 49ers had difficulty finding an offensive rhythm, and Meehan started the third set and, soon after, Klipsch re-entered.
Baughman, the younger brother of former UH softball pitcher Courtney Baughman, finished with 14 kills, but committed seven errors.
All of which sets up this week’s series with BYU.
“We knew we were getting better and playing at a pretty high level,” Wade said. “We continue to hit for a high percentage. When we’re serving tough and playing defense, we know we have a chance to beat anybody.”
HAWAII DEF. LONG BEACH STATE
25-23, 26-25, 25-17
|Rainbow Warriors (12-9, 10-6 MPSF)|
|49ers (10-10, 8-7 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 — Hawaii 3 (Umlauft 2, Hunt). LBSU 2 (Baughman, Klipsch). Assists — Hawaii 47 (Zemljak 41, Hunt 2, Walker, Umlauft, Lofy, Castello). LBSU 39 (Klipsch 33, Aguillard 2, Olbright 2, Francis, Baughman). T — 1:29. Officials — Kevin Call, Larry Schwartz. A — n/a.
|UC Santa Barbara||9||7||.563||512||12-9|
|Long Beach State||8||7||.533||6||10-10|
|UC San Diego||4||12||.250||1012||7-15|
Hawaii def. Long Beach State, 25-23, 27-25, 25-17
BYU def. CSU Northridge, 25-17, 25-16, 25-19
Pacific def. UC Santa Cruz, 25-21, 25-21, 25-16
Pepperdine def. Rutgers, 27-25, 23-25, 25-21, 25-14
Cal Baptist def. Stanford, 18-25, 28-26, 32-30, 25-21, 16-14