Chaminade Women’s volleyball falls to UH-Hilo in 5 sets

By Ryan Look, Staff Writer

There’s a saying that’s written on the court of the NCAA basketball final four every year.

“The road ends here.”


The road often has bumps similar to the Chaminade women’s volleyball team’s five-set heartbreaking loss at the hands of UH-Hilo Vulcans on Saturday. The defeat (25-19, 26-24, 18-25, 20-25, 15-12) dropped the team record to 10-2 overall and 3-1 in PacWest Conference play.


Senior Keani Passi led the team with a career-high 21 kills to lead the team while junior Kim Spring slammed down 12 kills.


The first set started out trading points until a 9-1 run by the Vulcans put them ahead 14-8. That run was proved to be the difference in the first set as UH-Hilo won the set 25-19.

In the second set, The Lady Swords began playing with the competitive edge seen in matches that were won easily by Chaminade. Unfortunately for the Swords, Service and attack errors piled up to free points for the Vulcans and after being down 24-23, UH-Hilo rattled off three straight points to win the set 26-24, it included a controversial service ace when the Lady Swords were trying to get the floor cleaned and the referee called for service and gave the point to the Vulcans who went up two sets to none.

The sharp angle swing was the shot that was killing the swords all night according to Kabalis-Hoke.

The third set had no team able to take a lead of more than one until four straight points by the swords to go up for good winning 25-18. Passi had four kills in the set to go along with junior defensive specialists Kasse-Ann Kiriu-Dela Cruz’s two service aces.

In the fourth set, the Lady Swords put together a 12-2 run after being down 10-6 and won the set 25-20. The Vulcans piled up 12 errors in the set.


“We started passing the ball better,” said Chaminade Kahala Kabalis-Hoke of her team’s comeback from a 2-0 deficit. “When we pass the ball, we’re able to run our offense.”


The fifth and deciding set was a seven kill performance by Marley Strand-Nicolaisen along with four kills by Morgan Lees and two errors by the Lady Swords. The most significant error was on match point, with Chaminade trailing 14-12; Keani Passi hit a serve into the net to give the match to the Vulcans ending her service error total of five.


Marley Strand-Nicolaisen led the Vulcans with 23 kills on the night. Strand-Nicolaisen is 18th in the PacWest conference in total kills with 89 and fifth in the conference in kills per set at 4.05. Her teammate Morgan Lees is 12th in the conference with 3.14 kills per set.


“I think it’s no surprise, Keani did fantastic for us tonight she 21 kills,” head coach Kahala Kabalis-Hoke said of who she thought was the best player for the Lady Swords.



The Swords must now go on the road for the second time this season going up to BYU-Hawaii, where they have not won since 2004 and haven’t beaten the Seasiders since Nov. 6, 2009 and then go on to the mainland to face Dixie State, Azusa Pacific, and California Baptist.