UH hopes to serve up more victories
Mar 14, 2013 (The Honolulu Star-Advertiser - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
The Hawaii volleyball team is in a routine -- and that might be contributing to its recent success.
The Warriors have developed into one of the toughest serving teams in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation. That was evident in this past weekend's two-match sweep of Southern California.
The Warriors are back on the road for the fourth time this year, and this time they hope their disruptive serving traveled well for matches against California Baptist on Friday and Saturday.
"Our serving has been good all year," UH coach Charlie Wade said. "Even Sunday, our serving was good but not great. We weren't up to our usual standards. But (the serving) was good when it needed to be."
Wade said the key is the preserve routine, an area he has emphasized since the late 1980s, when he was an assistant coach at Cal State Fullerton. It was there where he worked with Ken Ravizza, a sports psychologist who went on to help the national team win the 2008 Olympic gold medal.
Wade said there are two components to serving. There is the mental aspect of determining where to place the serve, and the physical act of jumping to strike a high-tossed spinning ball.
"It's a complex motor skill, for sure," Wade said.
The server automatically gets into his preserve routine when the referee blows the whistle.
"This whistle serves as a trigger," Wade said. "You try to clear your mind. Then you decide what you're going to do and how you're going to get (the serve) there. Then after a nice full breath, at that point, it's the green light. You go ahead and hit it."
Opposite attacker Brook Sedore has a blast-away approach.
"It's like: You have to deal with his serve," Wade said.
Outside hitter Siki Zarkovic is more detailed.
"You can absolutely tell him where to work and he can pinpoint his serve -- with pace," Wade said.
According to statistical and video analysis, Zarkovic is the Warriors' best server. UH uses a 3-point system to measure a receiving team's efficiency. A serve that results in an ace earns a zero. Three points are awarded for a pass near the net that opens the quick-middle attack. Opponents are averaging 1.8 on passes when Zarkovic serves.
"Siki has a good arm," Wade said. "It's very true."
Zarkovic's serves are in play 91 percent of the time.
"That's pretty good," Wade said. "It's not like he's lollying it in. A guy like Davis (Holt) is just trying to put the serve in, and he's at 70 percent. Siki is hitting it hard and trying to score, and he's at 90 percent."
Setter Joby Ramos has added the jump-serve to his repertoire. Middle blocker Taylor Averill also is effective with the spin serve, although he often is instructed to float serve as a change of pace.
"It's good to have the change-up," Wade said. "If every guy goes back and spins it, (opponents) can kind of get the rhythm of it."
Averill's serves are in play at 90 percent.
"One thing I've learned is to deal with every serve," Averill said. "If you have a low toss, you have to adjust to it and maybe not crank it as hard. If you have a good toss, you just have to go after it."
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