Vuls volleyball stays in peak form – with no place to go

UH-Hilo’s volleyball team, through no fault of its own, is the belle of a ball that has no dance partners.

The Pacific West Conference Hawaii pod champion Vulcans continued to flummox their Oahu rivals Sunday, running their winning streak to nine with two more wins in Honolulu and another weekend sweep.

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The heavy lifting came Sunday after noon as the Vuls fought to outlast Chaminade 26-24, 19-25, 25-11, 19-25, 15-11. Bria Beale loomed large with 16 kills (.289 hitting) and 25 digs, and Ashton Jessee added another chapter to her big trip with 11 kills (.333) and five blocks. Opposite Alexandria Parisian feature the same stat line as Jessee, and Kendall Kott registered 43 assists and 14 digs, dropping the Silverswords to 4-7.

Earlier, UHH (11-1) swept Hawaii Pacific (2-1) for the fourth consecutive time, 25-20, 25-21 20, behind Beale (12 kills, .233), Kamilla Marinas (11, .368) and Taira Kaawaloa (10, .200). Alexandra Parisian posted nine kills and 10 digs.

The Vuls clinched the pod Saturday night with a 25-23, 18-25, 25-21 win against the Silverswords that was powered by senior middle Jessee, who smacked 14 kills on just 22 swings (.636 hitting), adding 10 digs and three aces.

“That might be the best all-around match that I have seen Ashton play in all of her time here,” coach Chris Leonard said in a school release. “She was outstanding. It’s not often you see a middle reach double figures in digs, but she has worked really hard to get into top shape after missing most of 2019 with an injury.”

Beale added 10 kills, 11 digs and three aces, and Kaawaloa compiled eight kills and 10 digs.

“After a inefficient second set, we bounced back pretty good in sets three and four,” Leonard said.

To begin the weekend, UHH bounced the Sharks 25-16, 25-16, 25-18. Jesse had six of the Vuls’ 11 blocks, smacking eight kills in .571 hitting. Beale collected a double-double with 11 kills and 11 digs.

A pod championship in PacWest softball or baseball this spring secures a berth to a three-team tournament against the other two pod champions in California, with the winner grabbing an automatic qualifying spot to regionals.

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Volleyball is being played offseason — it’s usually played in the fall — but the PacWest was able to salvage a nonchampionship developmental spring season.

The Vuls have aced it so far, even if they will have to wait a handful of months to begin a title chase to find a dance partner.

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