RAINBOW WAHINE VOLLEYBALL
Houston honored with WAC award
On a team with no go-to player, any award could go to any player.
It's how Jamie Houston looked at the first Western Athletic Conference weekly honor of her career.
"I was very surprised," the sophomore hitter for the Hawaii Rainbow Wahine volleyball team said yesterday after learning she was the conference's player of the week. "Anyone from our team could have gotten it. Kanoe (setter Kamana'o), Tara (hitter Hittle), our middles, our back row players.
"I wasn't expecting this."
However Dave Shoji was. With the No. 7 Rainbow Wahine picking up two quality wins over No. 19 Pepperdine last week, "I figured it would be one of our players," the UH coach said yesterday.
Houston's numbers support the selection.
The left-side hitter led the team in kills both nights, 21 on Friday and a career-high 28 on Saturday.
Houston also posted double-doubles both matches, with 19 and 13 digs, and was in on a combined seven blocks. She also took 124 swings in the two matches, including 74 Saturday.
"The shoulder is strong," she said. "Our weight training with Tommy Heffernan really helped.
"Being 2-0 really gives us a lot of encouragement."
Hawaii returns to action this week in the Hawaiian Airlines Wahine Volleyball Classic. The Wahine take on No. 5 Florida on Friday, followed by Colorado on Saturday and No. 10 UCLA on Sunday.
Also returning this week is junior libero/defensive specialist Kelly Ong, who missed preseason workouts to fulfill requirements from Shoji that would allow her to rejoin the team.
Sophomore middle Nickie Thomas, who injured her left ankle Friday, has not been cleared to practice. She said yesterday she hoped to be able to return this week but, as Shoji said, "cleared to practice does not mean cleared to play. We'll have to see how it goes."