FL MORRIS / FMORRIS@STARBULLETIN.COM
UH freshman Joshua Walker had 16 kills Wednesday in his first start for the Warriors.
Depth was big for UH in win
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The rust continues to be brushed off the Hawaii men's volleyball team.
The Warriors are very aware that there is much more polishing to do before they look like the team they want to become.
Wednesday was a start. After a 12-day break from competition, No. 13 Hawaii picked up its first conference victory by downing No. 15 UC San Diego for the 38th consecutive time.
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It was the perfect example of the aberration that rally scoring in volleyball can sometimes produce.
UC San Diego (2-4, 1-4 MPSF) at Hawaii (2-4, 1-2)
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In Wednesday's 30-25, 27-30, 30-25, 30-27 win over UC San Diego, the Hawaii men's volleyball team had just nine kills in the deciding Game 4 to the Tritons' 17. Still, the Warriors won the last game to run their record against UCSD to 38-0.
The most telling statistic that determined the outcome was from the service line -- the Tritons committed nine of their 19 service errors in Game 4. In a game decided by three points, it's little wonder that UCSD coach Kevin Ring felt his team "gave Hawaii a lot of help."
On the other side of the net, the Warriors aren't likely to upload the game tape to YouTube any time soon. Hawaii had its own share of troubles from the back line, finishing with 18 service errors.
The difference, though, was the Warriors were able to keep their serves in when it counted, bringing heat when needed. Hawaii had four aces in the final game and wreaked havoc with UCSD's passing game with other tough serves.
"They did get a little predictable at the end," UH freshman middle Keali'i Frank said yesterday as the team prepared for tonight's rematch with the Tritons. "We knew where the ball was going."
It's that kind of tracking the Warriors will need to do on the Triton attackers tonight. Hawaii outblocked UCSD 12.5-8.5 Wednesday "and I thought it showed our depth," sophomore middle Steven Grgas said. "We had a lot of different players to go to, and everyone who came in did something.
FL MORRIS / FMORRIS@STARBULLETIN.COM
Hawaii senior Jake Schkud contributed a key 5-0 service run in Game 4 on Wednesday, including two aces.
"We were able to build our confidence, and it's that game experience that we need after taking a week off. Winning was a big confidence booster, but we have to keep it up. San Diego is much better than they have been and I don't see them settling for what happened to them."
The Tritons were coming off one of the biggest wins in the Division II team's history. They upset national champion and host UC Irvine last Saturday. Although Hawaii never quite got a handle on sophomore hitter Jason Spangler (21 kills), the Warriors block did a respectable job on the rest of the Tritons.
"I thought it was a good team win, a win we used our depth," said UH junior Jim Clar, who subbed in for Sean Carney in Game 3. "In the past, a lot of our wins have come using seven guys (UH used 10). The people who came in all did their jobs.
"(Tonight) we want to try and play more consistent and not let them go on runs. It went back and forth (Wednesday) as to who was going to take charge. We finally got a decent hold on the game."
Helping the Warriors do that was freshman Josh Walker, who had 16 kills and three aces in his first start, and senior Jake Schkud, whose 5-0 serving run in Game 4 included two aces.
Also contributing down the stretch was sophomore middle Matt Rawson, subbing in for Grgas in Game 3. Rawson, who missed the Long Beach State series two weeks ago with the flu, played a part in Hawaii's final three points of the match with a block and two kills.