Hawai’i Men’s Volleyball team trading card packs now available for purchase

Hawai’i Men’s Volleyball team trading card packs now available for purchase

HAwai’i Men’s Volleyball Team Trading Card Packs now available for purchase

BY HSRN STAFF
PUBLISHED APRIL 18, 2024

Move aside HOLO card, there’s a new must-have card in the state.

Make that cards, plural.

Packs of trading cards featuring members of the University of Hawai’i men’s volleyball team are now on sale today and will be available to be purchased at the campus book store and H-Zone.

Items will also be available in select stores across the state at a later date.The release is part of a name, image and likeness (NIL) that will help compensate members of the team.

 

Each pack of 14 cards contains a variety of designs featuring current players of the 2024 University of Hawai’i Men’s Volleyball team. Fans can also be on the lookout for autographed cards randomly inserted into various packs.

Hawai’i fends off Chaminade in midweek non-conference tilt, 2-0

Hawai’i fends off Chaminade in midweek non-conference tilt, 2-0

Hawai’i fends off Chaminade in midweek non-conference tilt, 2-0

BY MICHAEL LASQUERO | HSRN
PUBLISHED APRIL 17, 2024

HONOLULU — Win No. 20 of the year for the Hawai’i baseball team would come in a 2-0 outing against Chaminade in a non-conference matchup Tuesday night at the Les Murakami Stadium.

Ten different pitchers combined for a two-hit shutout for the Rainbow Warriors (20-14) with Brayden Marx earning his first win of the season and Danny Veloz nothing his first save of the year after picking up the final two outs.

The Silverswords’ pitching was also superb as starter Mac Elske retired the entire Hawai’i lineup one time through before giving way to Max Patterson (4-5). Sebastian Castro was also solid as well in 2 and 1/3 innings pitched, facing the minimum seven batters.

Hawai’i would finally break through in the fourth inning when Jake Tsukada and Austin Machado notched back-to-back hits before Kyson Donahue’s two-strike sac fly brought Tsukada home. 

The final run of the game came in the fifth when Elijah Ickes’ had a two-out knock to drive in Ben Ziegler-Namoa, who reached on a walk to leadoff the half-inning.

Jordan Donahue recorded the last hit of the game in the bottom of the eighth to extend his hitting streak to 17 games for the Rainbow Warriors.

Hawai’i coach Rich Hill had nothing but positive things to say about Chaminade (15-29) and head coach Chad Konishi in the program’s first season in over four decades.

“It was great, you have to give credit to Chad Konishi and his staff for really pitching well tonight,” said Hill. “They’re a very well-coached team. Our guys, proud of them, they grinded it out.”

Konishi, who served as an associate head coach for the Rainbow Warriors from 2002 to 2013, was grateful for the experience despite the loss.

“Really nice to be back in the first base dugout, when we were here (the home team) were in the first base dugout, but it’s awesome,” said Konishi.

“I really want to thank coach Hill. I thanked him many times for giving us this opportunity; one, to play them and two, obviously to rent the facility when they’re away on the road. It’s been so helpful for my program, especially for a first year program. We get a chance to play in the best facility in the state so we hope to continue to do that.”

In addition to their strong pitching, the Silverswords had their chances against the Rainbow Warriors. Their best chance at scoring came in the top of the third after Hawai’i intentionally walked Casey Kudell to load the bases as Kudell got the first hit of the game for Chaminade in the first inning. Ultimately, Hawai’i was able to get out of the jam with an inning-ending strikeout from Itsuki Takemoto.

“They did a nice job competing,” said Konishi. “I told my guys, ‘look we had our chances tonight. You guys played well, I’m really proud of the effort, but we had our chances and this is a D1 team that’s in a good conference.’ If we can play like this consistently, I think we would have had a more consistent record, but really proud of just putting a product on the field. Hopefully we can move on in year two and get better and then progress in year three.”

HPU Baseball on the cusp of first postseason appearance since 2010 with series win over Concordia

HPU Baseball on the cusp of first postseason appearance since 2010 with series win over Concordia

HPU Baseball on the cusp of first postseason appearance since 2010 with series win over Concordia

BY MICHAEL LASQUERO | HSRN
PUBLISHED APRIL 16, 2024

The tide is starting to turn for the Hawai’i Pacific baseball team.

The Sharks picked up a key series victory over Concordia University Irvine over the weekend to even their PacWest conference record at 14-14 with just four games left in league play before the postseason.

HPU dropped the first game against the Eagles, 4-3, before rattling off three decisive victories in a row to help move the Sharks into fourth place in the conference — a critical spot to be in as the top four teams will play in the PacWest postseason tournament, which uses a double-elimination format with no byes. 

The Sharks are trying for their first postseason appearance since 2010 and will have control of their own destiny with a road trip at Hawai’i Hilo this weekend and a crosstown matchup against Chaminade the following week.

“It was definitely a good weekend,” said HPU third-year coach Dane Fujinaka. “We needed to win that series, definitely a big series and I think it was really good to see different parts of our team click and be able to ride that momentum because historically we haven’t played good on the road. It seems like we’re getting the hang of it and starting to get some success on the road. Obviously going to Hilo we need to continue that and continue to play good baseball.”

The first win for HPU in the series came courtesy of the bat of sophomore outfielder Noah Hata, who hit a go-ahead grand slam in the top of the eighth in an 8-4 victory.

“Noah had a really good at bat and got a hold of one. That was the game right there. We definitely needed that,” said Fujinaka. “That was the turning point of our season, that hit because we were struggling to put together some runs.”

Hata’s game-winning blast also came after Concordia intentionally walked Skylar Agnew to get to him.

“I can’t believe they did that because statistically, Noah is as good as Agnew,” said Fujinaka. “It was a good matchup for him. He had a really good at bat, super clutch.”

For his efforts, Hata was named the PacWest Player of the Week.

“He’s the hardest worker on the field, plays hard all the time and just wants it,” Fujinaka said. “He’s a guy that everybody trusts because of the preparation that he does. He’s a great kid, a great teammate. Everybody loves him. I think everybody was super stoked when he pulled through there. He’s a guy that everybody wanted to see pull through and he deserved it.”

Game three was a dominant win in which HPU scored 14 runs on 20 hits in a 14-7 victory. The Sharks also got it done against Concordia’s Riley O’Sullivan, who was tabbed as the PacWest Preseason Pitcher of the Year. HPU got eight hits on Sullivan and chased him after 5 and 2/3 innings of work and scored 13 total runs in the final five innings of play.

“We knew he was their guy and we got to be ready to go,” said Fujinaka. “We actually hit him around pretty good, just couldn’t get that two-out knock. I just knew as long as we were good on the mound, we were going to get at him at some point so we did. Then finally we got a couple of big hits and then from there it took off. We built the momentum then we put them away. That was huge.”

Key contributors at the plate in the game three victory include Kota Suzuki, who batted 4-for-4 with three runs scored, TJ Smith with a team-high four RBIs and designated hitter Cooper Donlin with four hits in extended playing time.

While the bats came alive in game three, game No. 4 was the Shea Lake show.

The sophomore pitcher pitched a complete game in a 9-0 shutout performance to close out the series. Lake (4-2) tallied eight strikeouts in the win and was also selected as the PacWest Pitcher of the Week for his efforts. 

Officially Lake’s performance went down as a three-hitter, but Fujinaka thought those hits should have gone in the books as errors.

“That’s the best pitching performance we had all year, it should have been a no-hitter,” said Fujinaka. “It was three infield hits that they gave that were clear errors. That’s how the show goes when you’re the away team.”

The Sharks also backed Lake’s gem up with runs scored in five of seven innings played.

“We were kind of able to use our entire offense to score,” Fujinaka said. “Not just hitting, we ran, we bunted, we hit-and-run, all that type of stuff I think really attributed to the total runs scored.”

The three consecutive victories also came with two-time All-PacWest selection Nicholas Jio back in his usual leadoff spot. HPU was using power hitter Chase Taylor in the leadoff spot for a number of games previously before making the switch before game two.

Fujinaka said Jio has probably been the Sharks’ “hottest hitter the past couple of weeks.

“He’s back to his old self and in this past weekend, he’s back to the old All-Conference Jio.”

While in-state foes UH-Hilo (10-20) and Chaminade (8-20) are at the bottom of the conference standings, Fujinaka is not looking past the Sharks’ upcoming opponents.

“Chaminade is competitive, I don’t care what anybody says, they know how to play the game,” said Fujinaka. “(Coach) Chad (Konishi) is a really good coach. They’re coached well and they know how to play their game. It’s college baseball. You don’t show up and play your game, you don’t bring your ‘A’ game, you’re going to lose. By no means are they auto wins cause they’re not.

“Going to Hilo is a whole different ball game. That’s a tough place to win. I think I got one win there in three years. We’re certainly not out of the woods yet, we got to take care of business.”

Because conference leader Westmont (20-3-1) is not eligible for postseason play in its first year of NCAA membership, HPU just needs to finish among the top five teams in terms of winning percentage to reach the postseason. Point Loma has essentially clinched its spot with a 18-5-1 conference record, so the Sharks are trying to fend off the likes of Azusa Pacific (13-10), Concordia (11-13) and Fresno Pacific (10-14) for their spot.

“I’m excited,” said Fujinaka. “The guys are excited for the last few weeks of the season. The biggest thing for them that I’m going to tell them is to take care of one game at a time and build off of it. I don’t think we can look too far ahead about it right now. We just have to take care of what’s in front of us.”

Hawai’i beach volleyball pick up pair of Saturday wins on Senior Weekend

Hawai’i beach volleyball pick up pair of Saturday wins on Senior Weekend

Hawai’i beach volleyball pick up pair of Saturday wins on Senior Weekend

BY MICHAEL LASQUERO | HSRN
PUBLISHED APRIL 14, 2024

HONOLULU — Home, sweet home.

The No. 12 University of Hawai’i beach volleyball team picked up a pair of wins Saturday at the Clarence T.C. Ching Complex in its first home matches in more than a month as the Rainbow Wahine got past No. 19 Grand Canyon, 3-2, before dominating Portland, 5-0.

The two victories helped Hawai’i improve to 18-11 with two final matches at home before the Big West Championship.

The Rainbow Wahine will conclude the regular season with a 3 p.m. game against Chaminade on Sunday before honoring six seniors in a 6:30 p.m. rematch against GCU.

Jaime Santer, Anna Maidment, Kaylee Glagau, Riley Wagoner, Sabrina Hardisty and Pani Napoleon are the six seniors that will be honored.

Big seventh inning powers Kalani over host Moanalua, 10-6, in final regular season game

Big seventh inning powers Kalani over host Moanalua, 10-6, in final regular season game

Big seventh inning powers Kalani over host Moanalua, 10-6

BY MICHAEL LASQUERO | HSRN
PUBLISHED APRIL 13, 2024

HONOLULU — It’s not over till it’s over.

Visiting Kalani exploded for seven runs in the top of the seventh to stun Moanalua on senior day, 10-6, in the final OIA Division-I East softball game of the regular season.

“They never (gave) up to the very end,” said Kalani coach Iris Stremick. “Keep fighting, keep battling, even though energy is up against them.”

The victory helped the Falcons improve to 10-2 as they secured a first round bye in the 12-team league playoffs. They are assured of at least the East’s No. 2 seed and can finish as high as No. 1 with a Kaiser (9-2) loss to Castle (6-5) next Tuesday.

Naomi Stremick (3-1) earned the win in the circle for Kalani pitching three innings in relief of starter Kadie Carpio. She also went 2-for-3 at the plate with a double and had the go-ahead two RBI single in the top of the seventh to give the Falcons a 7-5 lead.

Ashlyn Sera also drove in two runs, including a solo home run to cut the lead to 5-4 in the seventh while Haley Ching scored three times with a home run of her own to round out the top batters for Kalani.

Malia Taga and Taryn Kimura each notched two hits to lead Na Menehune (9-3) in the loss.