Wahine look­ing to find them­selves

Hawaii Tribune Herald - - SPORTS - By Cindy Luis

It has taken three matches but Hawaii feels it has be­gun to find it­self, its iden­tity, its “team­ness” this vol­ley­ball season. In many re­spects, the Rain­bow Wahine didn’t rec­og­nize the group that was play­ing the first two days of last week’s Tex­aco In­vi­ta­tional, won­der­ing “who da guys” on the Stan Sher­iff Cen­ter Ter­aflex when los­ing in five to Mar­quette then los­ing — badly — to No. 22 San Diego in three.

Those im­posters were re­placed on Sun­day, in time for the 75th meet­ing with UCLA, helped by a 90-minute tough-love ses­sion in Gym I im­me­di­ately after the loss to the Toreros. While Hawaii didn’t com­plete the come­back against the Bru­ins — giv­ing up the fi­nal six points in a five-set de­feat — “I think it showed our po­ten­tial, our ca­pa­bil­ity to be­come a re­ally great team,” se­nior hit­ter Kalei Gree­ley said as Hawaii pre­pared for the 30th Hawai­ian Air­lines Clas­sic.

“I’m ex­cited to be back in the gym and very en­cour­aged by what we saw,” said Gree­ley, who played for the first time this season against UCLA. “That was more like our team. We didn’t look like our­selves, didn’t feel like our­selves the other nights.”

It’s a quick turn­around for the Wahine, 0-3 for the first time since 1980 and un­ranked for the first time since 2014. The fo­cus was on the pos­i­tives that Hawaii took away from Sun­day, “as close to a win as you can get with­out it be­ing a win,” as­sis­tant coach An­gel­ica Ljungqvist said. “The team re­sponded so well to what we talked about Satur­day night. They came out like a team for the first time. They played with heart and joy.

“We’re proud of the way they turned it around. That first week­end is not go­ing to de­fine us.”

“Every­one is com­ing into the week with pos­i­tive feel­ing,” added se­nior Emily Maglio, the lone Wahine on last week’s all-tour­na­ment team.

Hawaii did look more like it­self in terms of po­si­tions against the Bru­ins. Maglio and ju­nior Casey Castillo were play­ing mu­si­cal spots when both were used at mid­dle and on the out­side. They set­tled in on Sun­day in what are con­sid­ered their nat­u­ral po­si­tions, Maglio in the mid­dle and Castillo on the out­side.

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