Hawaii Baptist serves up win


POSTED: Friday, September 04, 2009

Even with a slow start and problems against a taller squad, the Hawaii Baptist Eagles go back to basics.

Five aces, including two by C'era Oliveira, helped the Eagles stifle a first-set rally by University, and HBA went on to sweep the visitors 25-22, 25-18 last night at Dan Liu Gymnasium.

Hawaii Baptist (4-0) overcame a torrent of kills by University middle Quynne Eharis, a 5-foot-10 junior. The aces came in quite handy.

“;I've been doing more jump floats the past year. I know where I'm hitting the ball more,”; said Oliveira, a senior.

Sarah Palmer led the Eagles with 15 kills, committing only two hitting errors (.464). Oliveira and sophomore Krystal Oyasato chipped in six kills apiece, and junior Kayla Kawamura dished 30 assists.

“;We knew University would be tough, especially with Quynne in the middle,”; HBA coach Myles Shioji said. “;Krystal did well. She did better with her blocking technique.”;

Eharis led UHS with six kills and three blocks. Michelle Fainberg added three kills and Kaylenn Fitzgerald added two blocks. Kai Kaalekahi had a team-high 11 assists as UHS dropped to 0-3.

“;When she gets a good look, she's pretty much unstoppable,”; University coach Walter Quitan said of Eharis, a basketball player who joined the volleyball team last year.

University has time to make up ground. Defending D-II champ HBA, though, is clearly the team to beat.

“;They played better in the second set,”; Quitan said. “;Their great defense showed up. They served tough and they had good ball control. We're in a learning process with a lot of new girls, especially in the back row. We'll definitely get better.”;

The service charge by HBA was costly for University, which was down 12-5 at the start before Ruth Tasi's kill and block sparked an 9-2 Junior Rainbow run. A block by Eharis, followed by a kill down the middle brought UHS within 14-12.

However, Palmer struck for three kills, including two from the back row. Tough serving, including an ace, by Kelsey Hamano helped HBA seize a 21-12 lead.

The visitors got two blocks by Kayleen Fitzgerald to rally within 24-22, but Oliveira ended the set with a kill from the left side.

“;We wanted to make sure we served tougher,”; Shioji said. “;Instead of giving up three, four, five points in a row, we had to mix up the offense more, get more people involved.”;

The start of the second set was a near duplicate of the first. This time, the Jr. 'Bows didn't have a big run. With four kills and an ace by Oyasato, plus 10 kills from Palmer, HBA was in firm control. UHS rallied from nine points down to within 20-16, but Palmer, Oliveira and Brianna Lovett came through with kills to close out the win.

“;Coach said it was a big game,”; Palmer said. “;They're one of the top D-II teams we'll face. We started connecting early in the season. It's easy to depend on everybody to get the job done. My teammates were serving good.”;

HBA finished with seven aces and nine service errors. Palmer had two of the errors.

“;I served toward the top ref,”; she said of one of the miscues.

The Eagles hit .280 with nine hitting errors. University hit .075 with eight hitting errors.

HBA will play Island Pacific tomorrow before meeting No. 1 Punahou on Tuesday.