Our scouting report series continues as we at VolleyMob give you a more in-depth look at the biggest matchups of the week and the year. Hawaii has been the dominant member of the Big West Conference, but is receiving plenty of competition this year with Cal Poly looking to usurp the Rainbow Wahine. With that being said, this could likely be a match of the top two teams in the conference.
Cal Poly comes into this match ranked for the first time in the VolleyMob Top 25 Power Rankings at number 24 behind a 15-2 record and 5-0 mark in conference play. Hawaii on the other hand is 11-5 overall and 5-0 in Big West play, as the loser will have their first blemish of conference action.
- Saturday, October 7th/Sunday, October 8th
- Honolulu, O’ahu
- 10:00 p.m. West Coast Time/1 a.m. Eastern Time
- Follow: Big West TV/Spectrum Sports/Hawaii Radio/Live Stats
CAL POLY SUCCESS FACTORS
- A dominant offense/Sister Power
Cal Poly doesn’t just have one of the best offenses in the Big West, but the country as well. Their 15.52 kills per set leads both the Big West and the entire nation so far while their .315 hitting percentage is by far the top mark in the conference and ranks sixth in the country. A big part of that are the Van Winden sisters, Torrey and Adlee. Torrey transferred this season to Cal Poly from UCLA as the two combine for 8.50 kills, 4.96 digs, 0.88 blocks and 0.65 aces per set. Plain and simply, when they get rolling they are tough to stop. They’ll need to be on their ‘A’ game too, because this will be one of the more challenging defenses they face on the season in terms of blocking.
- An accurate serve
Throughout the season, Hawaii has had some difficulty passing at times. Throughout matches, it can cause the opposition – in this case Cal Poly – to go on long runs as the Rainbow Wahine can look sloppy at times with that bad passing. They struggled early on in that regard against UC Riverside last match in falling behind 2-0 in sets, but then picked it up to win in five. One issue that UC Riverside had was 13 serve errors to four aces for the match, as they gave away too many free points considering the trouble Hawaii was having passing the ball. Cal Poly has just 87 serve errors to 82 aces, a fantastic ratio, so far this season. If they can locate who to attack and keep the ball in play, they could put their offense in even better positions by keeping Hawaii out of sorts in the passing game.
HAWAII SUCCESS FACTORS
- Defense at the net
Hawaii is the top blocking team in the Big West and ranks in the top 50 in the country with 2.45 blocks per set, something they will need to show up against the strong Cal Poly offense. Not only do the actual blocks score points, but there’s not much that provides more energy to a team or can ignite a run than after a roof. It’s also about the touches at the net that don’t go down as blocks as those make it easier for the back row to pick up digs. In the two meetings with Cal Poly last year, albeit a different team, Hawaii posted 27 blocks in seven sets of action, just under four per set.
- A raucous home environment
Hawaii has the pleasure of facing Cal Poly in this one in Honolulu as the Rainbow Wahine will have plenty of support behind them. So far this season, the average attendance is 6,197 for Hawaii, a yearly tradition as fans pack the stands and make the Stan Sheriff Center a difficult place to play for the opposition. Not to mention Cal Poly will have to overcome the long trip and avoid getting lulled in by the calm and relaxing beaches. For a team that’s 13 woman roster consists of eight underclasswomen in Cal Poly, Hawaii’s home court advantage may play a role as all of the Mustangs losses have come on the road so far this season.
SO, HOW DO YOU BEAT THEM?
How does Cal Poly beat Hawaii?
- Don’t be afraid to mix it up on offense
Cal Poly has done a good job this season with balance offensively with setter Taylor Nelson leading the conference in assists per set (12.22). The Mustangs have four players with triple-digit kills this season, but it would also be easy in a big-time match like this one to just focus on feeding Torrey Van Winden, the conference leader in kills per set (4.69). It would be safe to assume that Hawaii block will be keying Van Winden though, making the play of her sister, Adlee Van Winden (3.81 kills per set, .257) as well as Raeann Greisen (2.55 kills per set, .272) and Savannah Niemen (2.37 kills per set, .438) important in opening things up for Torrey and keeping the Hawaii block guessing.
How does Hawaii beat Cal Poly?
- Serve aggressively
So how do you neutralize an offense that has been dominant all season long? You play good defense and serve tough. If you serve aggressively, it may lead to more errors but it also will put Cal Poly into more difficult situations and help the defense slow things down. Of course, there is always a fine line between serving aggressively and giving up way too many points off serve errors – something Hawaii will need to avoid. The Rainbow Wahine currently average 1.42 aces per set overall and 2.50 aces per set in conference play, so they’ve been good in the ace game so far, but serving aggressively goes beyond just aces. It’s about getting your opponent out of system which will be crucial in Hawaii slowing down the Cal Poly offense and funneling them into their block as they try to win this match.