Tears of joy flow as Wahine send out seniors with win
There’s no crying in beach volleyball.
At least not during competition.
Taking a page out of the movie “A League of Their Own,” that was it for the pep talk Hawaii coach Jeff Hall gave his Flight 3 pair of Carly Kan and Laurel Weaver on Sunday afternoon at the Ching Complex. The two seniors easily won their match against Boise State’s JaymeeLee Bulda and Jensen Allen, 21-13, 21-13, clinching the dual with the Broncos and giving the Rainbow Wahine (32-3) their record 27th straight victory.
The tears came later, during the senior night festivities that capped a day of two 5-0 sweeps over Arizona State (10-17) and Boise State (3-9). Buried under lei after their final regular-season match were seniors Kan, Weaver, Allyssah Fitterer, Hannah Zalopany and Ka’iwi Schucht, and junior All-American Emily Maglio, who decided earlier this week not to return for her final year of eligibility.
All but Fitterer played a part in Sunday’s scoring, with Zalopany teaming with junior Hi’ilawe Huddleston to pick up the first point in the nightcap against Boise State at Flight 5, and Schucht-Maglio finishing the sweep with their school-record 23rd consecutive victory at Flight 1. Also keeping an impressive win streak going with their 21st straight were Ari Homanyun and Amy Ozee at Flight 4.
The 21-9, 21-13 sweep of Broncos’ Sabryn Roberts and Janell Walley was Schucht’s 100th career victory. She is third behind Nikki Taylor (105) and Katie Spieler (102).
“It was awesome to have it happen on senior night,” Schucht said. “And to be able to go out together with Emily.”
“It was fun to be with (Ka’iwi) for her 100th,” said Maglio, one of two Wahine to earn All-America honors in both beach and indoor (Taylor being the other). “It’s been great to watch the program grow and get better and better each year.”
It was the fourth match for the pairing of Zalopany-Huddleston. Zalopany and Paige Dreeuws were 21-5 prior to this weekend but Dreeuws has missed the last four due to concussion protocol after she was hit in the back of the head by Zalopany’s serve in the April 8 match against Utah.
“I think it’s a testament to how deep and jelled we are as a team,” Zalopany said. ” ‘Lawe and I have been in similar positions in our careers, playing at the 6 (exhibition flight) and have the same grit and sense of needing to prove ourselves.”
“I don’t like to switch up pairs but we had to,” Hall said about Huddleston replacing Dreeuws. “It’s a great investment to give ‘Lawe the experience at 5. She wants to be part of the point-scoring and that’s an important piece at the 5.”
Hawaii has a bye week before hosting the Big West championship tournament April 27-29 at Queen’s Beach. The SandBows are the twotime defending champions.
Notes: While Hawaii loses a key player in Maglio, the SandBows have reloaded for next season with a commitment from 6-foot-1 Julia Scholes, a transfer from the North Carolina indoor team. The ACC Freshman of the Year in 2016 suffered a season-ending concussion two matches into her sophomore year with the Tar Heels and has decided to retire from indoor competition. She will have at least three years of eligibility, possibly a fourth pending a decision on getting a season back because of a medical hardship ruling.