Sunday, September 28, 2003


Hawaii at home
in California

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- This is one time that the Hawaii volleyball team might feel as much at home as the home team.

The No. 2 Rainbow Wahine practiced at the Leavey Center on the Santa Clara campus yesterday and Friday in preparation for today's match with the No. 16 Broncos. It's as much time as Santa Clara has spent on its own wood floor in the past two days.


What:Women's college volleyball
Who: No. 2 Hawaii (12-1) at No. 16 Santa Clara (8-4)
When: 10 a.m. today
TV: Live on DirecTV, Channel 610
Radio: Live, KKEA 1420-AM

After 12 matches on the road, the Broncos (8-4) will finally play their home opener today when hosting the Wahine (12-1) in the nationally televised Sunday Spike Night match of the week on CSTV (10 a.m. Hawaii time).

"It is more like 'Brunch with the 'Bows' for us," said Hawaii coach Dave Shoji. "The biggest difference for us is the time of the game. It's 1 o'clock here and we're not used to playing afternoon games.

"But we've been on their court for a couple of practices. It's wood, just like San Jose State. We're used to that surface. We practice enough at home (in Gym I) on it."

Hawaii puts its 11-match win-streak on the line against Santa Clara, winners of its last three. The Wahine are coming off a 90-minute win at San Jose State on Friday in which they extended their Western Athletic Conference winning streaks to 66 regular-season matches and 75 straight overall.

The Broncos opened the season on the road at Pacific (a 3-1 loss), at San Jose State (a 3-1 win) and by taking the Wildcat Invitational title with victories over host Arizona, Rhode Island, San Diego State and Miami. Santa Clara then traveled to Nebraska, where the Broncos dropped three straight to ranked teams: the No. 5 Cornhuskers, No. 10 Georgia Tech and No. 17 Michigan State.

The team rebounded with three wins at the Gamecock Tournament last weekend. Senior middle Becky Potter was named the MVP.

Potter, the program's first All-America selection, has eight double-doubles already this season. She ranks third on the school's career kill list with 1,466; she needs just 31 to pass former Punahou standout Lia Young for second.

"They have some athletes who present some problems for us," said Shoji. "They're a little banged up right now so we're not sure exactly who we'll see from them.

"Santa Clara is a better team than San Jose State and they've played a very tough schedule. This is another good challenge for us."

The Broncos have a solid setter in 5-foot-11 senior Kelli Sousa, who led the country last season in assists (14.38). Santa Clara also has a solid block, led by 6-foot senior middle Becky Biniek (1.04 bpg).

The Broncos will be without Boise State transfer Jac Heler, who broke the tibia and fibula in her left leg in the 3-2 win over Miami on Sept. 6.

Jon Wallace, a former all-conference setter at UC Santa Barbara, is in his fifth season at Santa Clara with a 99-37 record.

Hawaii leads the series with the Broncos 5-0. The last time the teams met was on Sept. 21, 2001, when then-sophomore Kim Willoughby broke the UH record for kills in a four-game match with 35.


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