comscore Wahine solid in spirited Green-White scrimmage | Honolulu Star-Advertiser

Wahine solid in spirited Green-White scrimmage

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    20150822-0860 SPT UH WAHINE VB PHOTO BY DENNIS ODA The UH Wahine volleyball team had their Green White scrimmage at the Stan Sheriff Center under the watchful eye of head coach Dave Shoji. This is Annie Mitchem (#8) (left) and Tayler Higgins (#7) going for the ball. PHOTO BY DENNIS ODA. AUG. 22, 2015.

Hawaii took its 2015 model out for a spin on Saturday and came back fairly pleased with the test drive.

This Rainbow Wahine volleyball team definitely has plenty of horsepower.

With new uniforms, three newcomers and new wrinkles in the offense, the Green-White scrimmage at the Stan Sheriff Center showed that Hawaii is ready to put camp in the rear-view mirror and shift into the real season.

The White team, comprised of five returning starters plus sophomore middle Emily Maglio and sophomore libero Savanah Kahakai for most of the match, came back from a surprising loss in Set 1 to pull out a 21-25, 25-8, 26-24 victory over the Green. The afternoon crowd of about 100 boosters, family and friends, saw junior hitter Nikki Taylor lead the White with 12 kills, with senior middle Olivia Magill and sophomore hitter Kalei Greeley adding 10 kills each as all three hit over .300.

The surprise of the match was sophomore outside Megan Huff. The two-sport athlete had 12 kills for the Green, hitting with authority mostly from the right and looking more like a volleyball player than the basketball player from five months ago.

"I think it’s been more mental, my mentality is different," Huff said. "After basketball season, my confidence was there.

"This felt good and it was fun."

It was also very spirited, as the Wahine got a chance to show off improved passing and defense in front of an audience.

"I think they were very excited to end camp and get on with the season," Hawaii coach Dave Shoji said. "Huff was real good. And most all of our ‘A’ side hitters hit for high percentage.

"Nikki gives a huge right-side presence, and teams won’t be able to stack the block. Magill has been going hard, and she knows if she goes hard and gets up early, she’ll get the sets. That’s incentive for her."

Magill had just one error in 18 swings, hitting .500. Taylor and Greeley had two errors apiece, hitting .400 and .320.

Maglio, who traded sides for Set 3 with new middle Annie Mitchem, finished with a combined seven kills and no errors on 12 swings and was in on five blocks. Magill, with four kills in Set 3, helped the Green rally from 24-22 to tie it at 24 and force extra play.

Junior setter Tayler Higgins had the White hitting .305 with two of the side’s four aces. Senior hitter Tai Manu-Olevao had only five kills but a match-high 16 digs and Kahakai had 14.

Behind sophomore setter Kendra Koelsch, the Green hit .171. Koelsch was limited in her attack options, with only one blocker and three defensive specialists; she had two kills, including the Set 1 winner.

Hawaii’s newcomers showed great promise. Freshman hitters Casey Castillo and McKenna Granato each had six kills.

Mitchem, cleared to practice just last Tuesday, finished with eight kills, six in the first two sets on the Green side. She also was in on a a match-high five blocks, including one solo.

"It was good, but I’ve still got a lot to work on," said Mitchem, the two-time AVCA two-year college player of the year out of Irvine Valley.

Hawaii opens with Idaho on Friday, the second match of the Chevron Invitational. Oregon State and Wichita State meet in the 4:30 p.m. opener.

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