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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, January 16, 2010

Stanford smashes UH in MPSF match

Advertiser Staff

The Hawai'i volleyball team hit the road for a four-match Mountain Pacific Sports Federation trip.

Last night, the road hit back hard and often.

Spurred by a nearly glitch-free attack and blistering serves, No. 3 Stanford cruised to a 30-15, 30-21, 30-18 rout before 1,108 in Maples Pavilion.

The Warriors' 54 total points were their fewest in a match since the implementation of the first-to-30, rally-scoring format in 2001.

"They played good, and we didn't," UH coach Charlie Wade said.

Many of the student fans showed up in costume for Stanford's season-opening match. The Cardinal responded by coming dressed to thrill.

Opposite attacker Evan Romero and left-side hitter Brad Lawson each slammed 13 kills.

In all, the Cardinal committed only five errors in 77 swings, and hit .494.

The Warriors, meanwhile, gave away 27 points on attack errors, and hit .113.

Jonas Umlauft, a freshman opposite attacker from Germany, led the No. 8 Warriors with 11 kills. But that total was offset by 10 errors. He hit .032 best efficiency among UH's starting pin hitters.

Left-side hitter Joshua Walker had six kills and seven errors, and outside hitter Gus Tuaniga had two kills and three errors. Middle blocker Matt "Dragon" Rawson pounded seven kills (against one error) in 11 swings. But Wade conceded, "We couldn't get him the ball enough."

The Warriors, who were winless in 10 road matches last year, were hopeful of a stronger start in the afterglow of last week's four-set victory over top-ranked Southern California.

But the Warriors struggled with their passing, which limited their offensive options.

"We hit way too many balls out of bounds," Wade said.

The combination of UH's hitting errors and Stanford's blocking advantage (10.5 to 3), Wade said, "will shrink the game down a lot against one of the best teams on the road. It's certainly not going to help you much."

To be sure, Stanford's serves contributed significantly. The Cardinal amassed 10 aces, including three in a row by 'Iolani graduate Lawson in the second set.

The Warriors did not have any aces.

"We never got into any rhythm," Wade said. "We weren't quite as crisp."

The wide margins allowed the Warriors to experiment. Steven Hunt, a sophomore from Toronto, had eight kills in 13 swings and hit a team-high .462.

Ernie Vidinha substituted for Tuaniga in the first set. Vidinha "retired" from the sport last year because of recurring back problems. But after intensive rehabilitation, he received medical clearance to play this season.

Wade praised Stanford, which received a boost from Rainbow Wahine head coach Dave Shoji's sons libero Erik Shoji and setter Kawika Shoji.

"They have a good veteran team," Wade said. "It's hard to win on the road. Everybody plays good at home."

The rematch between the teams is tonight.

The Warriors then play matches at Pacific on Tuesday and Wednesday.

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