Although the HPU women’s volleyball team failed to make
the postseason, it ended the season with a bang, upsetting the
12-0 PacWest champs. The Lady Sea Warriors showcased one of
their best performances of the season at St. Andrew’s
Priory and shocked the entire conference by trouncing Brigham
Young University-Hawai‘i in four sets. After losing
the first set, 17-25, HPU took the next three, 26-24, 25-18,
The Nov. 6 match was highly contested from the first point.
HPU jumped to an early 4-1 lead in the first set, but the
Seasiders fought to tie it up at 12 with a service ace
by libero Melanie
Manutai. A flurry of HPU hitting errors gave BYUH the lead,
17-13, and Tanza Buroker sealed the deal for the Seasiders
with two kills in the final three points.
The two teams exchanged points throughout the second set,
tying 11 times. BYUH led 14-11, but two kills by Natasha
one by Shawntell Jones tied the set at 14. The Seasiders
reached game point at 24-23 from a kill by Ane Vea, but
error by Agnes Tuilevuka tied it once again at 24. HPU’s Kelly
Balanay hammered away a kill to give the Lady Sea Warriors the
advantage. BYUH head coach Wilfred Navalta quickly called a
timeout to stall the game, but Julia Gruszecka didn’t
succumb to the pressure. Gruszecka’s serve slipped through
Manutai’s fingers to tie the match at one set apiece.
The Lady Sea Warriors carried their momentum into the third
set and jumped to an early 9-3 lead. They never looked back.
Balanay and Bell denied Vea at the net with a block for
game point, 25-18. The effective HPU offense hit .326 in
set, compared to .128 by BYUH.
With the momentum, HPU continued to compete with the Seasiders.
The two teams tied 10 times throughout the fourth set. The
Lady Sea Warriors actually trailed 21-20, until they pulled
in the late stages on a five-point streak. Balanay fittingly
ended the game with a shot off the BYUH block to complete
the upset. She finished with a match-high 22 kills and seven
We just wanted to finish the season off positive,” said
Balanay. “It shows people who may think we’re a
bad team, that we’re not.”
HPU’s Tricia Yoshimura racked up a season-best 39
digs. Gruszecka posted 11 kills and 10 digs.