Hawaii goes back to basics
There was no question what the Hawaii men's volleyball team needed to work on in yesterday's practice. The only question was when the Warriors were going to practice at the Pacific campus in Stockton, Calif.
Who: No. 14 Hawaii (5-7, 4-5 MPSF) at Pacific (1-13, 1-10 MPSF)
When: Tomorrow, 5 p.m. Hawaii time
Where: Alex G. Spanos Center, Stockton, Calif.
Radio: KKEA, 1420-AM
Series: Hawaii leads 31-1, including a four-game win Friday night
No. 14 Hawaii had its session time changed twice before finally getting into the gym in mid-afternoon. It was a short but hard workout dedicated to receiving jump serves ... receiving jump serves ... and receiving more jump serves.
The Warriors (5-7, 4-5 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation) want to repeat most of the effort that went into beating the host Tigers on Friday, but do not want to repeat their collective meltdown on serve-receive. UOP (1-13, 1-10) torched UH for 14 service aces, including six by senior Pekka Seppanen, who is now the MPSF leader with 24.
An odd twist of the schedule has a two-day break between the Warriors' two matches with the Tigers. UOP had a men's basketball game in the arena last night, moving volleyball to tomorrow (5 p.m. Hawaii time).
UH then closes out the nine-day road trip with consecutive matches at No. 9 Stanford on Wednesday and Thursday.
"We don't mind the couple of days off in between because of how long he road trip is," said Warriors junior setter Sean Carney, who had a career-high nine blocks in Friday's 3-1 victory. "It's a good break.
"We're happy we got the victory but we know (UOP) will come out fired up against us. We're just taking it one game at a time. It's the same deal as Friday. We want to come out firing."
Coach Mike Wilton said he doesn't expect any changes to the starting lineup. He was pleased how sophomore hitter Nemanja "Nemo" Komar was able to spell freshman Josh Walker for a stretch, with Komar responding with seven kills with one error in 20 swings as well as three blocks and six digs.
"Nemo did some nice things for us," Wilton said. "It's nice to have him be able to step in like that right now."
Wilton said he expected to have reserve sophomore middle Matt Rawson available for tomorrow's match. Rawson, who replaced freshman Keali'i Frank briefly Friday, apparently hyper-extended his hitting shoulder on a kill attempt late in Game 3 and was forced to leave the match.
Only senior hitter Jake Schkud was in double digits for kills but the Warriors had a very balanced attack with Walker putting down nine, Frank and junior hitter Jim Clar eight and Komar with seven. Sophomore middle Steven Grgas was efficient when getting set, with four kills and no errors, but he only had seven attempts.
Part of that was due to Hawaii's shaky passing, which affects the middle attack.
"Obviously, we need to work on passing," Carney said. "(UOP) served bombs at us, served really hard. We need to do a better job."