RAINBOW WAHINE VOLLEYBALL
STAR-BULLETIN FILE / 2006
Jamie Houston will suit up for the Rainbow Wahine in their spring volleyball match against Arizona.
Scheduling snafu is giving Wahine coach Shoji a headache
Wahine, Wildcats tomorrow
Don't ask for help filling out the NCAA Tournament bracket for basketball. Dave Shoji is having enough of a headache setting the schedule for his 33rd season with the Hawaii women's volleyball team.
Although the Western Athletic Conference volleyball schedule was set last month, it is very much tied into the WAC football schedule, which was not announced until last week. So far, Shoji has six changes on his calendar, with perhaps more to come, depending on when the Warriors football schedule is finalized.
ARIZONA AT HAWAII
When: 7 p.m. tomorrow
Where: Stan Sheriff Center
"It's a real pain to change," he said. "A number of schools play volleyball and football on the same day but we don't, and don't want to. We have a lot of people who have tickets for both sports."
Which has resulted in the Wahine playing more 5 p.m. Sunday matches than usual. Hawaii's three tournaments normally include Sunday dates, but four WAC home matches are scheduled for Sundays this fall, twice the original number.
"Not great for our fans," Shoji said. (Hawaii has led the country in attendance since 1995).
However, one Sunday date Shoji doesn't mind is Oct. 21, when the Wahine travel to play defending national champion Nebraska in Lincoln.
In addition to its date with the Huskers, Hawaii's three preseason tournament fields include Michigan, Colorado State, Oregon State, Louisville, Kansas State, UCLA, Eastern Washington, Wichita State and Santa Clara.
"We have an extremely competitive preseason, as usual," Shoji said.
The Wahine close out the regular season with two matches after the WAC tournament, at home against Loyola Marymount over Thanksgiving weekend. Because of football on a Friday, the series with the Lions has gone from Wednesday and Friday to Thanksgiving Day and Saturday, with the latter match scheduled for after women's basketball.
At least one away match has changed. Fresno State, originally set for Saturday, Nov. 3, likely will move to Friday, Nov. 2, the day after Hawaii is at Nevada.
All this has prepared Shoji for the makeshift lineups the Wahine will put up against the Arizona Wildcats in the spring match tomorrow. Sitting this one out will be middles Juliana Sanders and Nickie Thomas, and hitters Tara Hittle and Jessica Keefe, all in various stages of recuperating their injuries.
Making guest appearances will be setter Kanoe Kamana'o and hitter Sarah Mason, who used up their eligibility last fall. Shoji said Kamana'o would have a limited setting role, with redshirt freshman setter Dani Mafua getting a chance to run the offense.
"And we have a lot of libero candidates and all of our backcourt people will see some kind of action," said Shoji, who had six liberos/defensive specialists on the roster last season.
Hawaii (29-6) lost in the NCAA regional last December. Arizona (13-17, 4-14 Pac-10), which didn't make the postseason, lost three seniors, including setter Stephanie Butkus.
"I think Arizona is about as thin as we are," Shoji said. "But they have several very physical players. We'll see what happens."
Leading the Wildcats last season were outside hitters Brooke Buringrud, a 6-foot-2 sophomore (3.63 kpg, 30 aces) and 6-3 freshman Whitney Dosty (3.39 kpg). Junior middle Dominique Lamb led the team with 169 blocks and added 25 aces.