Silversword volleyball drops bitter loss against rival HPU


Andreas Saetersdal

The Silversword’s vollyball team in action against rival Hawaii Pacific University

By Andreas Saetersdal, Staff Writer

Last season when the Chaminade and Hawaii Pacific University volleyball teams met, the Swords came out on top in the rivalry and won both matches in five sets. This year, HPU won the first matchup 3-1, and on Friday, the Sharks barely etched out the win over the visiting Swords in five sets (25-22, 25-23, 22-25, 23-25,15-13) in the last match of the regular season for both teams.

The Swords’ hopes of qualifying for the PacWest Conference tournament were shattered just minutes before their match against HPU. Chaminade had a chance to make the PacWest finals if they beat HPU and Azusa Pacific lost their two remaining matches. The Swords got some tough news right before the match when it became clear that Azusa had beaten Dominican 3-0 to clinch the last spot.

“I think it’s very difficult to play at the end of our season,” said head coach Kahala Kabalis-Hoke of the Silverswords. “Knowing that we didn’t achieve what we wanted to throughout the season, so finding the motivation and that fire is challenging when the season is over before the last match.”

CUH seemed affected by the news as the first set started and made some uncharacteristic mistakes on the defensive end. HPU capitalized on the slow start from the Swords and managed to build up a 16-9 lead. Defensively CUH struggled with its positions and had hard time finding the right timing for its blocks. As the set went on CUH caught up, making it 17-17 at one point, but HPU won the set after pulling away with a 6-3 run.  

“Defensively, early in Set 1, we had a hard time with the blocks and figuring out our defensive back,” said defensive specialist senior Waihilo Chartrand. “We just had a hard time reading where the ball would go and knowing where to go. We didn’t go to the right places.

CUH's Senior Waihilo Chartrand defensive specialist played her last game tonight and had an impressive 15 digs.
Andreas Saetersdal
CUH’s Senior Waihilo Chartrand defensive specialist played her last game tonight and had an impressive 15 digs.

In the second set HPU continued its great play while CUH started to show some promise and heart. Midways through the set it was a lot forth and back. HPU was up 13-10, but CUH got better and better and took the lead 16-14. But the Swords were not able to stay consistent with their play and HPU won the set 25-23.

“We were not able to be consistent today, but I think they did they the best that they can,” Chartrand said. “They came out with heart and fire and errors happen. We should of been sharper.”

In the third and fourth set CUH looked like a completely different team. In the third set CUH started to find each other on the court and HPU was not able to withstand CUH’s pressure. The Swords started blocking and spiking became more accurate. Midway through the third set CUH found themselves up 17-10 and ended up taking the third set 25-22. In the fourth set CUH continued its offensive play with great spikes and kills from Daisia LaBrie and Kira Long, who combined for 30 kills in the match. The Swords won the fourth set 25-23.

I feel from the 3rd set was when we started to actually to really pick things up and fight,” said Chartrand. “We started finding each other on the court. Our defense was better, and we were able to get some important kills and from there on the fight was just continuous.”

The fifth and final set ended up being a close thriller just as one would want in a rival match. CUH was looking to complete its comeback and end the season with a win. But midway through the set, the Swords found themselves making small errors and trailing 8-5. Trailing behind CUH fought hard but HPU defense had found some new found strength and HPU clinched the last set 15-13.

 “I think in the last set we needed less errors. We had to continue to be a lot crisper and serve tougher, we passed better,” said Kabalis-Hoke.

As the match came to an end, it was not only the season that came to an end, but also the career for five seniors who played their last match for Chaminade. Ku’ulei Lynch, Kim Spring, Kasse-Ann Kiriu-Dela Cruz, Chartrand and Cassie Rushlow played their last match. Spring finished her career with 1,104 kills, the fourth-most in CUH history. The Swords finished the season 16-13 overall and 10-10 in PacWest play, giving the program back-to-back winning seasons after surging to a 19-9 record last fall.

“I am going to miss the seniors. They brought a lot to the table as far as competitiveness and skill level,” said Kabalis-Hoke. “They are going to be big shoes to fill and what we need to accomplish, so I wish them all the best. I know they dedicated a good four years and some of them two years and I appreciate them a lot for that.”