Vulcan Mid-Season Report
Vulcan Mid-Season Report Fall season so far for Vulcan Athletics Staff Writer Trixie Croad Photos courtesy of Vulcan Athletics
The Volleyball team kicked off their season in September with a pre-season trip to San Francisco, which saw them start the conference season with a 3-3 preseason record, beating hosts San Francisco State in the process. Conference play started in Oahu the following weekend and did not go so well for the Vulcans as they lost their two opening games to Chaminade and Hawai’i Pacific. They also had losses at home against Fresno Pacific and Biola University as they struggled to find their rhythm.
A home win against 5th ranked Point Loma Nazarene seemed to shift the momentum and new Head Coach Gene Krieger hoped the Vulcans could capitalize on this win. “An exciting four set win [against Point Loma] leapfrogged the ladies two rungs on my ladder of success...What is the next rung? Go on a winning streak, which we hope to do in northern California this week,” Krieger said ahead of the most recent trip.
The Vulcans went on to win their next two games against Dominican and Notre Dame de Namur to put them on a three match winning streak before losing an out-of-conference Cal State East Bay and then crushing Holy Names in straight sets to give them a 5-4 in conference record and 6th place ranking. As Krieger says, hopefully the Vulcans can just “keep on climbing”.
The women’s team has had a rather successful season so far, already improving on their five total wins of last season with six wins by just midseason. Defender Lucy Maino says they have re-adjusted their goals for the season. “Compared to last year’s season, we’ve come a long way” Maino says. “We just wanted to improve our record and be ranked higher but [now], I'd be happy to be in the top five. And if we make it to playoffs, that would be an awesome accomplishment for this team”.
The Vulcans have a 6-3-1 record, their three losses all coming from higher ranked teams, never beating the Vulcans by more than a one-goal margin and all being away games on the mainland. In their most recent two home games, the Vulcans scored an impressive six goals and conceded just one, goalie Jenna Hufford earning PacWest Defender of The Week honors reflecting her team’s success. The real challenge is yet to come, however, as the Vulcans are now on the road again until Oct. 24. Here’s hoping they can hold it down on the mainland as well as they have been doing here in Hawai/`i.
The men’s side have had a disappointing start to their season, holding a winless record as of mid-October and being ranked bottom of the Pac West table at 14th. The Vulcans began the season with a long away stretch to both Oahu and California before returning home and narrowly losing to both Academy of Art and Holy Names, with a one-goal difference separating them from their opponents in both instances. Senior defender Jake Sagami says that based on preseason training, the team expected a more prosperous start: “Many of us were excited to get the season started, especially the returnees, seeing the group of new recruits,” he says.
All these newbies could be why the Vulcans are finding it hard to come together to produce results. Sagami also mentioned that key injuries like those of Junior Forward Trenton Hooper and Senior Kyran Johal have not helped the team’s situation.
The Vulcans are not giving up hope on their season just yet, however. Sagami says his teammates have just as much drive as they’ve ever had. “Even though times are rough right now, everyone is still buying in and wanting to win, staying positive,” he says.
With just under half of the season to go, and still many of the lower ranked PacWest teams left to play, hopefully the Vulcans can redeem their season and finish strong.
UH Hilo Cross Country was always going to be in for a challenge this year, struggling to find the numbers needed to compete. Meghan Langbehn, a defender on the Women’s Soccer Team, has taken on cross country as well, allowing the Vulcans to have the five minimum runners needed to compete.
The Vulcans started the season with the Big Wave Invitational on the North Shore of Oahu, finishing 4th with three out of five runners in the Top 20. This race has been the bar to beat and the Vulcans have successfully improved each race throughout the season.
In September they hosted the UH Hilo Invitational at the Naniloa Golf Course in Hilo, finishing 3rd in a pool of four. Anna Baker Mikkelson led the Vulcans, finishing in 8th place. The team has competed in three other races: two on Oahu and one in San Bernadino, California which featured over 100 competitors, and they have been improving bit by bit with each race. The Vulcans returned to the North Shore on Oct. 7 and each runner improved their times from the first race there a month before, proving that they are on an upward trajectory.
Unfortunately Reyna Garcia Lopez was unable to compete this time due to injury, leaving the Vulcans short of the five minimum required, meaning their team placing was not computed. This was the last race before the PacWest Conference Tournament held in California on Oct. 21, where hopefully the Vulcans can continue improving their times.
Women’s Golf is a young team this year, with only two out of 10 girls being upperclassmen, so expectations have been somewhat unknown. The season didn’t kick off until October, but the Vulcans hit the ground running with a two week long trip to the mainland that proved challenging for the team of mostly freshmen.
They first played the Dixie State Invitational in Hurricane, Utah and in their opening tournament the Vulcans placed bottom of the pack in 10th place at 136 over par. On the same road trip, they then competed at the St. Martin’s Women’s Golf Invitational in Washington, placing at the back again in 8th place, 205 over par. Their last tournament of the trip was Western Washington, where the Vulcans finished 13th.
The lone senior on the trip, Mariya Paste, proved that experience goes a long way as she came out as the lowest scorer of the Vulcans in all of these tournaments. Senior and last season’s lowest scorer Andi Igawa was missing from this trip, which surely hurt the Vulcans ability to get good results. As golf is a year round sport, the Vulcans have plenty of time to season their young players to start producing the results they want.
The men’s side began the year at the St. Martin’s Invitational where they tied for 9th out of 13. Ryan Roodzant was the Vulcans’ lowest scorer, coming in 7th place in the individuals, just two over par. Directly following this, they played the Western Washington Intercollegiate and placed 12th out of 16 in rollercoaster three rounds of 18 holes over two days. Roodzant, along with teammate Taylor Patrick, lead the Vulcans individually, both scoring seven over par and finishing in 37th place. The Vulcans then returned home for almost a month without competition before they returned to the mainland for Oct. 16, and then back to the Big Island to finish out the fall portion of their season at home in Waikoloa.
All the results, game recaps, stats and upcoming schedules can be found at the Vulcan Athletics website www.hiloathletics.com