Brakling, a 6-foot outside hitter from Sao Paulo,
Brazil, hammered a career high 33 kills and led her team with
14 digs Oct. 4, as the HPU Lady Sea Warriors volleyball team
out-lasted the Western New Mexico University Mustangs, 28-30,
28-30, 30-15, 30-26, 15-5 in a Pacific West Conference match
at the James C. Castle Gym at St. Andrew’s Priory School
in downtown Honolulu.
HPU, ranked 14th nationally in NCAA II women’s volleyball
improved its record to 1-2 overall and 3-0 in the PacWest.
WNMU fell to 8-10 and 0-3 in conference play.
Our girls played their hearts out tonight,” said WNMU
Head Coach Jim Callender. “Just as we did when HPU visited
us on their road trip. “But when we tried to make a run,
Brakling just took over. She was tremendous.”
Brakling leads the Lady Sea Warriors with 207 kills, averaging
4.40 per game. And she leads the team in digs with 115, for
a 2.45 per game average.
Early in the match it looked as if the Mustangs had found
the ingredients for an upset. They had five Hawai‘i players,
all with friends and family cheering in the stands. With the
energy of a “homecoming,” WNMU seemed to negate
HPU’s home-court advantage. And HPU didn’t help,
given its early tendency to shoot itself in the foot with errors,
especially at the service line. In all, HPU committed 21 service
errors, almost half as many as the 12 Mustang miscues.
They were driving me nuts. I thought I would have an aneurism,” said
Head Coach Tita Ahuna after the game. “We couldn’t
maintain any momentum, any sense of rhythm. We’d have
spots when we played well, then we’d hand the game over
The Mustangs took advantage early, out-hitting HPU .182-.175
in the first game and .406-.325 in the second. But the
Lady Sea Warriors took charge of game three, shutting down
attack and forcing the Mustangs into 13 errors for a -.083
In this kind of game, you have to be patient,” said Brakling. “We
had to concentrate at the serve and hit the ball in different
spots. Once we started doing that, the game came back to us.”
Concentration paid off, and HPU dominated game three
while committing zero attack errors.
WNMU nearly pulled
upset in game four, leading 22-16 at one time, but HPU
tied it at
25 apiece when middle blocker Barbara Martin and setter
Vera Oliveira roofed the Mustang’s Kim Tano. The
Lady Sea Warriors went on to win by four points.
The fifth and decisive game was all HPU. Ahuna told her
squad the game was theirs for the taking, and Oliveira,
Pac West Player of the Week, made a bold prediction. “I
told the team we were going to win 15-0,” she joked.
With outside hitter Paula Nascimento at the service line, HPU
went on an 11-0 scoring run. “I remembered what Vera
said, and it was like, WOW,” said Nascimento. But WNMU’s
Tano spoiled the perfect game with a kill. HPU went on to a
Oliveira had a match-high 62 assists with 550 for the
season. She notched a double-double with 11 digs. Outside
Nadica Karleusa finished with 16 kills and fellow Brazilian
The WNMU match was HPU’s fifth five-game match of the
year. In fact, both of its losses were in five. The match followed
a four game road trip in which HPU swept WNMU and Montana State
Billings and was the first of a six-game home stand.