Chaminade women’s volleyball beats HPU in 5


Ryan Look

The Lady Swords beat the Sharks for the first time in seven years.

By Ryan Look, Staff Writer

It finally happened.

No, the Cubs did not win the World Series.

The Chaminade Lady Swords finally conquered their rival Hawaii Pacific University for the first time in seven years on Saturday, Oct. 24. The Lady Swords stumbled in the first two sets falling behind 2-0 but rallied back and pulled off three straight sets to win a thriller 20-25, 23-25, 25-18, 25-23, 15-10.

The victory snapped a 15-match losing streak to crosstown HPU, the last win coming in September 2008, when many of Chaminade’s current players were in middle school.

“I know it was big for the program here,” said senior hitter Keani Passi, who led all hitters with 22 kills. “It’s been like 15 (matches) in a row that we haven’t beaten them. It was huge. At first it seemed like it wasn’t going to happen for us, but we all came together. We knew how big it was for the program and we knew that we wanted to break that record.”

Pomai Recca led HPU with 21 kills out of 50 attempts, while teammate Elizabeth Culpepper finished with 20 kills on 55 swings.

With the win, Chaminade improves to 14-5 overall (7-4 in PacWest Conference). HPU falls to 12-8 (7-5).

After the final point of the match, a powerful kill by Passi on an overpass, the spirited student section at McCabe Gym rushed the floor and celebrated the program’s biggest win in years.

Senior libero Brenda Walker has been with Chaminade since 2012 and has never beaten an Oahu PacWest team (the other is BYU-Hawaii) and has only won five out of the 26 sets in the last three years that Chaminade has played against HPU. (She missed all but three games last season due to an injury.)

“This is huge I’ve been here for almost five years I redshirted one year this is my senior year and we have never beaten them,” said Walker, who had a match-high 23 digs. “There was a lot of energy. We’ve been building up for this game since before (the) season started, and we’ve been preparing for this game. We knew who their hitters were, and we just had to map ourselves around them.”

Last season, Chaminade was able to take HPU to the fifth set twice in both matches, the first match at McCabe Gym came down to four and points and the second match was down to two points. Prior to that, the last time the Swords brought the Sharks to five sets was Sept. 23, 2009 at McCabe Gym.

This time the Swords were able to win the fifth set. Trailing 5-2 early, the Swords fought back to tie the match 6-6. After that, they never looked back. Senior outside hitter Suncica Bakic pounded three straight kills. This sparked a 6-1 run that essentially put the match out of reach.

Head coach Kahala Kabalis-Hoke, who was an assistant at HPU and has a sister Ku’uelei Kabalis-Bianconi who is a graduate assistant at HPU, beat the Sharks for the first time.

“We had a well spread offense, defense came through, we blocked balls, we served well, so it all came together for us,” Kabalis-Hoke said. “Hopefully it’s fuel to our fire for the rest of the season because we need to win the rest of our games to have a shot at regionals.”

The Lady Swords are currently not ranked in the west regional rankings and are sixth in the conference standings.

The Lady Swords’ next game will be at Hawaii-Hilo on Wednesday, Oct. 28 at 7 p.m.