RAINBOW WAHINE VOLLEYBALL
Wahine back in WAC play
UH looks to start a new league winning streak against Idaho
IS IDAHO the next San Diego State?
The Vandals will be if the 15th-ranked Hawaii women's volleyball team has its way. The Oct. 17, 1998, victory over San Diego State began the Rainbow Wahine's streak of 114 regular-season Western Athletic Conference wins, a run halted nearly two weeks ago at New Mexico State.
Although the Hawaii players are disappointed that it happened on their watch, "We're not lingering on it," senior hitter Sarah Mason said. "Dwelling on things like that only brings you down.
Who: Idaho (7-13, 8-2) at No. 15 Hawaii (15-5, 7-1)
When: 7 p.m. tomorrow
Where: Stan Sheriff Center
Radio: KKEA (1420-AM)
TV: KFVE (Ch. 5)
Series: Hawaii leads 4-0
"I think it has ignited some fire in us. We want to prove to everyone we are the best team in the WAC."
The breakthrough by New Mexico State may have knocked Hawaii off its pedestal in the eyes of the other conference teams, but it hasn't changed the Wahine's collective view. They know they are still the standard by which the WAC teams mea
"Every team in the WAC has improved this year," junior middle Juliana Sanders said. "And we can't wait to see New Mexico State again (Nov. 12). But before we even get there, we have to worry about Idaho."
The Vandals (7-13, 6-2) are cause for some concern, UH coach Dave Shoji said. Idaho is the one conference team Hawaii hasn't seen this season and "At the start of the year, I thought they were one of the better teams," he said. "They had a rough preseason, played a tough schedule, and didn't have many wins, but I think they're as good as just about anybody in the conference.
"Their record in the WAC is where I thought it would be."
After a very rough start -- Idaho opened 0-9 after three straight tournaments on the road -- the Vandals have found themselves. Swept in their WAC opener at New Mexico State, the Vandals reeled off five consecutive wins before losing at Nevada in five last week.
Last night, Idaho got 21 kills from Haley Larsen and 18 from Erin Curtis in outlasting host Boise State 28-30, 37-35, 21-30, 30-19, 15-8. The Vandals are now two wins away from matching last season's WAC win total (8).
Injury-plagued Hawaii hasn't played since beating Notre Dame twice early last week. The Wahine were able to take a few days off to catch up on school work and recover from their seven-matches-in-12-days schedule.
"We haven't played in a while and I'm excited to get back on the court," Mason said. "We had some time off to rejuvenate and we're ready to start playing volleyball again.
"Idaho gave us some pretty good competition last year and we aren't taking anything for granted."
The Wahine will have a new face but a familiar number on the playing roster tomorrow. Sophomore libero Makana Recca, named to the roster last Saturday, will be wearing the injured Nickie Thomas' number: No. 9.
Recca had been assigned No. 19, but there is no uniform with that number in the inventory. Her choices were the numbers of the three players who are out for the year due to injuries: Thomas, Jessica Keefe (6) and Tara Hittle (3).
"I knew my time would come," said Recca, a Kamehameha Schools graduate who transferred from San Francisco this year. "I've been working hard, doing well and waiting for my shot.
"This is a character-building time for us right now. We have a lot of proving to do and hopefully we can use this weekend as a positive thing to show what we can do."
Note: In last night's other WAC match, San Jose State came back to beat host Fresno State 30-28, 30-23, 16-30, 25-30, 15-13. The Spartans (14-9, 5-5) face Hawaii on Sunday at 5 p.m.