Nevada volleyball falls to Hawai’i
Appeal News Service
RENO – The University of Nevada volleyball team would enjoy another opportunity to knock off powerhouse Hawai’i, especially after playing the Rainbow Wahine with a new formation for the second time this season.
Nevertheless, No. 16 Hawai’i continued its dominance over Nevada, winning 30-24, 30-24 and 30-23 Thursday night before 915 fans at the Virginia Street Gym.
“They have six players that play for them offensively,” Nevada coach Devin Scruggs said. “They did exactly what we planned. We just made some young mistakes and some bad choices at the wrong time. You can’t do that against a team that good.”
Hawai’i stayed tied in first place with New Mexico State in the Western Athletic Conference at 10-1 while Nevada dropped to 8-4 but remains in third. The Wolf Pack host Fresno State on Saturday for the team’s final home match of the year.
Sarah Mason led three players in double figures in kills as she finished with a match-high 13 kills. Juliana Sanders recorded 12 kills and Jamie Houston had 10. Setter Kanoe Kamana’o dished out 35 assists.
Karly Sipherd led Nevada with nine kills and five block s3olos, and Teal Ericson and Jorgan Staker each tallied eight kills. Tristin Johnson and Sonnie Sei combined for 31 assists, and Lauren Kelly added 14 digs.
Scruggs said she changed the lineup to a 6-2 formation against Louisiana Tech last weekend and used it for the second time against Hawai’i. The system allows six players to play up front with two setters in the back row, creating an increase in blocks and attacks.
“We just need to continue to work on our 6-2,” Scruggs said. “The change in our system has allowed us to have a bigger right side block.”
With the 6-2, playing time is split with setters Johnson and Sei. Johnson said both the system and less playing time is difficult to adjust to.
“It’s better and it’s hard adjusting to,” said Johnson, who dished out 19 assists. “We better get it (the kinks) out of the way fast because our season’s running out.
“Of course I like to be in there the whole time. That’s just how I am, but that’s not how it’s going to be. I’m OK with it. It’s for the betterment of the team.”
Teammate and outside hitter Carly Sorensen said the 6-2 will help the team at the end of the season, especially during the conference tournament over the Thanksgiving weekend.
“This was our second game playing the 6-2 and it is a bit hard adjusting to a new system,” Sorensen said. “We’re going to keep working on it. Devin likes it and it can work.”
Saturday’s Senior Night will honor Johnson, Sorensen and Brianne Hall prior to the Wolf Pack’s match against the Bulldogs.
“I’m excited for them to have the opportunity,” Scruggs said about her seniors playing at Nevada. “Hopefully we’ll have a big crowd on Saturday night. It’s there last home match in the Virginia Street Gym. It’s a pretty special place to play.”