Nacimento, a 6-2 international business major
from Belo Horizonte, Brazil, accomplished six digs for the
ladies against the Seasiders.
Nacimento graduated from Institute Padre Machado High School
where she helped lead her team to two championships and was named
to the All-State Tournament Team where she earned top awards.
She then attended Lake Land Junior college in Mattoon, Ill. and
helped that team to its first regional championship.
Nacimento’s advice for next year’s players: “Be
ready to adapt to new things, especially if you’re a foreigner.” Of
her team, Nacimento said: “The atmosphere was good,” and “the
girls were awesome.”
Brunke, also a 6-2 outside-hitter, said that “Playing here
in Hawai‘i is like playing in Paradise.” She has
her B.S.B.A. and is now working towards her M.B.A. in Travel
Brunke lettered in volleyball at Goethe High in her hometown
of Potsdam, Germany. Her team captured every regional tournament
title, helping Brunke earn a spot on Potsdam’s first women’s
volleyball team. Brunke attended Arizona Western College in Yuma
where she helped her team place 10th in the nation at the NJCAA
Against BYU-H, Brunke posted the team’s highest attack
percentage, .667, and accomplished six kills and two digs. Of
HPU volleyball, she said: “It’s kind of different
from Germany, with its millions of rules and regulations.” Of
her team, Brunke said: “I loved the atmosphere, and I’m
going to miss that for sure. I had three really nice seasons.”
HPU’s loss to the Seasiders counted towards the Lady Sea
Warriors regular season record and not their conference record.
HPU’s seniors played in their last regular season collegiate
games on the Big Island, Nov. 12 and 13, against University of
Hawai‘i-Hilo. The Lady Sea Warriors won both games against
the Vulcan’s, sweeping UHH, 30-21, 30-28, 30-26, in game
one, and 30-18, 30-21, 30-20 in game two. Nacimento and Brunke
accomplished 14 kills, four blocks, and three digs for both games,
and HPU solidified its spot as PacWest Champions.
Head Coach Tita Ahuna was not surprised at winning this year’s
PacWest title and competing for the NCAA championship. She said
early in the season that HPU was capable of doing it.
However, HPU fell to UC San Diego 19-30, 30-26, 23-20, 30-28,
and 15-11 in a grueling semifinal match Nov 19 at the NCAA II
Pacific Regional played at UCSD’s RIMAC Arena.
With the win, the Tritons avenged last year’s semifinal
loss to the Lady Sea Warriors in the same regional. HPU, the
fifth-seed and Pacific West Conference champion, finished the
season at 20-4. UCSD advanced to the Regional Championships,
where they fell to second-seeded UC San Bernardino.
HPU middle blocker Barbara Martin led all players in a blistering
effort, hammering 25 kills for a .370 attack average, as well
as fielding 11 digs and nine blocks. Three more Lady Sea Warriors
scored in double digits. PacWest Player-of-the-Year Vera Oliveira
led the match with 67 assists.