GEORGE F. LEE / GLEE@STARBULLETIN.COM
Sarah Mason and the ninth-ranked Rainbow Wahine take on Idaho tomorrow at the Stan Sheriff Center.
UH hopes to add to its eight-match shutout streak tomorrow
There is a theme here.
Three remaining regular-season home matches.
Idaho at No. 9 Hawaii
When: 7 p.m. tomorrow, Stan Sheriff Center
Radio: Live, KKEA (1420-AM)
TV: Live, KFVE (Ch. 5)
Series: Hawaii leads, 4-0.
Three straight ... as in No. 9 Hawaii sweeping its last eight matches 3-0.
Although Rainbow Wahine volleyball coach Dave Shoji doesn't think that keeping the streak of straight-set victories is a motivating factor for his team, it does look impressive. Even more impressive is Hawaii's 102 consecutive Western Athletic Conference wins, the longest active skein in the country.
The Wahine (17-6, 11-0), winners of their past 11, put all of it on the line tomorrow against improving Idaho (13-11, 5-6). The Vandals saw their three-match winning streak halted at Utah State, going up 2-0 on the host Aggies before falling 27-30, 26-30, 30-26, 30-27, 15-12.
"We played a good match," Idaho coach Debbie Buchanan said. "It just didn't go our way."
While the Vandals are new to the WAC, they were very familiar with playing the Aggies as well as playing in Utah State's Dee Glen Smith Spectrum. Both teams were members of the Big West until last season, with USU holding a 15-9 series lead following Wednesday's victory.
It's a different story for the series between Idaho and Hawaii. This is only the third trip to the islands for the Vandals and the first in conference play. The other visits came in the NCAA tournament, where the Wahine swept the Vandals in first-round matches in 1994 and 2003.
Hawaii needed just 95 minutes to sweep Idaho three weeks ago in Moscow. The match was watched by 900 fans.
The Wahine expect at least 7,000 tomorrow. Hawaii continues to lead the country in home attendance for the 12th straight season, drawing 108,187 in 15 matches so far at the Sheriff Center, for an average of 7,212. (Nebraska is No. 2 with a 4,454 average).
"I'm sure they have great motivation to do well against us and that they'll be excited to play here," Shoji said of the Vandals. "I think only a few players were with the team the last time they played here.
"They're a good, solid team. I've said that from the start."
"They played well at Utah State," added Wahine associate head coach Charlie Wade. "They have the talent to score points. They can block."
The Vandals had 34 block assists in the loss against the Aggies on Wednesday. Eight of those were by reigning WAC player of the week Sarah Loney, a 6-foot-2 freshman middle who also had 10 kills.
Junior Amanda Bowman, a 5-10 hitter, had 20 kills against Utah State and 5-11 freshman hitter Haley Larsen added 19.
Senior libero Meghan Brown had 25 of the team's 76 digs, her 67th career double-figure dig match.
"We have to be on our toes, like every match we play," Wahine sophomore middle Kari Gregory said. "Idaho is a good team."
This is the only match of the week for Hawaii, which heads back out on the road Monday night. The Wahine will be at Utah State on Wednesday and San Jose State on Saturday.
Injury-wise, Hawaii is healthy. Sophomore defensive specialist Kelly Ong has had her right wrist taped; she had a cortisone shot earlier in the week to reduce swelling due to some tendinitis.