If you hold it, they will come.
Such was UH-Hilo volleyball coach Gene Krieger’s experience in trying to put together a nonconference tournament.
The second-year coach threw out the proposal and … voila … the Hawaii Challenge is set for Aug. 23-25.
“All I did was offer it as an idea and two days after putting it out there, it filled up and had a waiting list,” Krieger said.
Preseason home tournament’s have been few and far between for Vulcans volleyball of late, or for any UHH program for that matter.
In past seasons, the basketball programs have gone to Oahu to get games in, but in this instance Oahu is coming to Hilo. The Vulcans will play St. Cloud State, UC San Diego, Saint Martin’s and Simon Fraser in a tournament that also features Hawaii Pacific and Chaminade.
“This gives us a chance to showcase a new and improved Vulcan team sooner rather than later,” Krieger said in release. “Local fans have a chance to see some strong Division II teams from three of the top Division II volleyball conferences in the country.”
Last season, the Vuls didn’t play their first home match until Sept. 22, their eighth contest of the season.
This season will be different.
After its tournament, Vulcans will travel to San Francisco to participate in a second crossover tournament, the D2 West Region Volleyball Showcase, squaring off against Cal State Dominguez Hills, St. Martin’s, San Francisco State and Montana State-Billings.
“This is good competition,” Krieger said.
The Vulcans will then open their Pacific West Conference season at home against Dominican (Sept. 7) and Notre Dame de Namur (Sept. 10).
Scheduling is just one of the differences Krieger hopes to see in the Vuls during his second season at the helm.
“Last season, you’re just trying to figure out was was up and what was down,” Krieger said.
Coming off of a 9-18 season, UHH reports to practice Aug. 5 with a slew of new faces in tow and many spots to fill. The team’s top two hitters are gone, Siera Green graduated and Randi Hunter didn’t return, and the status of a third key piece, senior Lucee Fitzgerald, is unknown because of an injury.
Krieger anticipates announcing two more incoming recruits to a class that already features two transfers, Taira Kaawaloa and Kyla Militante-Amper, and five players out of high school: Waiakea graduate Melina Devela, Jorene Ulu, Teisa Tuioti, Alexandria Parisian and Maile Powell