UH tweaks block, sweeps Northridge
Off-the-wall ideas helped the Hawai'i volleyball team produce a 35-33, 31-29, 30-19 victory over third-ranked Cal State Northridge yesterday in the Matadome.
The Warriors rebounded from Friday's five-set loss in which 7-foot-2 middle blocker Jacek Ratajczak hammered 30 kills, with no errors, in 41 swings for the Matadors.
Yesterday morning, the Warriors created a make-shift screening room in which a video of Friday's match was projected onto the wall of a hotel room.
"When you watch (video) of yourself, you can see what you're doing wrong and the corrections you need to make," UH coach Charlie Wade said.
In Friday's match, UH sent as many as three blockers to impede Ratajczak's spikes. The video showed that the Warriors were not in the most favorable defensive positions.
"Subtle things," Wade said. "You think you're doing it one way, then you look at (video), and you see, 'I can do a better of that.' "
The Warriors tinkered with their block and back-row alignment. But in the first set, Ratajczak had nine kills.
"I was thinking, 'Here we go again,' " Wade recalled.
But the Warriors' scheme just needed time to ripen. After that, the Warriors' block was able to touch most of Ratajczak's spikes. Libero Ric Cervantes and outside hitter Ernie Vidinha, who replaced Steve Hunt in the first set, took away Ratajczak's angle shots.
Ratajczak did not have a kill in the final two sets. He finished with nine kills, with one error, in 24 swings.
Wade credited the Warriors improved block, active back-row defense and tough serving. Often forced out of rhythm, setter Matt Stork had difficulty feeding Ratajczak.
"I think it was across the board," Wade said of the Warriors' tough serves. "Everybody was pretty good."
Opposite attacker Jonas Umlauft led the Warriors with 17 kills and left-side hitter Joshua Walker contributed 16 kills. Vidinha had seven kills in 12 swings and hit .417.
"We didn't pass (effectively) early," Wade said. "It was something like 21-16 when we went to Ernie. He responded really well."
Vidinha did not play last year because of a disk injury.
"This was a nice win for us," Wade said. "Any win is nice, but a win on the road is even better."
UH plays at Southern California tomorrow and Tuesday.