Posted with permission, article and pictures, courtesy of Chaminade University
HONOLULU – It would seem that the rough nine-match start to the 2022 season might be well behind the Chaminade University women’s volleyball team.
The Silverswords on Saturday put together another impressive display, taking all three sets – 25-17, 25-23, 25-12 – against Fresno Pacific in a matchup of Pacific West Conference unbeatens at McCabe Gymnasium.
Sasha Colombo (Milan, Italy/Colorado State/Liceo Scientifico Giordano Bruno HS) led Chaminade with 12 kills while adding four blocks and eight digs. The Silverswords, who after their 3-6 start against programs which are currently in or among those receiving votes in the AVCA Division II Top 25 Poll, won their sixth straight, improving to 9-6 overall and 4-0 in the PacWest.
All six victories have been three-set sweeps, breaking the school record for consecutive sets won with 18. The previous record was 16, accomplished twice, last in August 2005.
Fresno Pacific, which entered Saturday 4-0 in the PacWest including an upset of Biola the previous week, saw its five-match winning streak end, falling to 5-4 and 4-1.
Brooklen Pe’a (Woods Cross, Utah/Youngstown State/Bountiful HS) added nine kills and 12 digs for Chaminade, which hit .278 in the match. Greta Corti (Varese, Italy/Univ. of San Francisco/Alessandro Manzoni Liceo HS) and Sophie Schilling (Berlin, Germany/Alaska/Schul- and Leistungsportszentrum Berlin HS) contributed with five kills each. Lataisia Saulala (Morgan Hil, Calif./Oakwood) had six blocks, extending her career record to 319.
The ‘Swords stunned the Sunbirds, who had cruised through their first two matches in Hawai’i with sweeps at Hawai’i Hilo and Hawai’i Pacific, by jumping out to a 9-0 lead with Alexia Byrnes (Chicago/Youngstown State/Saint Francis HS) at the service line for all nine. Six of Chaminade’s points were thanks to FPU attacking errors.
The Silverswords led by as many as 13 (20-7) before the Sunbirds closed to 23-17. An FPU service error set up set point where Pe’a and Schilling combined to push back the attack for Chaminade’s 25th point, tying the program’s consecutive sets won mark.
Like she did in the opening set, Byrnes was at the service line for another 9-0 run, putting Chaminade up 17-7. However FPU rallied behind three aces and suddenly, the Sunbirds were at 24-23. But Colombo ended all hopes for an epic comeback with a kill at set point which promptly broke the consecutive sets won record.
The ‘Swords rode the wave of yet another massive surge in the final set. Tied at 2, Chaminade promptly put the hammer down with a 19-2 blitz, putting the home team up by a staggering 21-4 count, hitting a whopping .524 (14 kills, one error, 24 attacks) in the final set.
Byrnes had 28 assists on the afternoon while she, Colombo and Nanna Inoue (Kula, Maui, Hawai’i/Tyler JC/King Kekaulike HS) each had two aces.
Chaminade held the Sunbirds to a .019 attack percentage and just two total blocks. They have also won 34 straight against PacWest foes from the Northern California and Central Valley areas.
Makena Ogas had nine kills for Fresno Pacific.
The Silverswords will embark on their traditionally toughest portion of their schedule with their annual trek to the conference’s Southern California region. They open the trip at Biola on Sept. 26.