JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARBULLETIN.COM
Aneli Cubi-Otineru had 13 kills, eight digs and four block-assists in the Rainbow Wahine's victory over Kansas State in the Hawaiian Airlines Classic Friday night at the Stan Sheriff Center.
A win over Louisville today will give Hawaii the positive attitude it needs for the season
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Consider it an alien abduction. That's how the Hawaii volleyball team might explain last Sunday's stunning loss to Oregon State.
Kansas State vs. UCLA, 2:30 p.m.
Louisville vs. Hawaii, 5 p.m.
Where: Stan Sheriff Center
TV: 5 p.m., PPV 255
Radio: KKEA 1420-AM
Or an out-of-body experience because "that was not us out there," Rainbow Wahine senior middle Kari Gregory said yesterday.
"It was like watching somebody else."
Friday's Hawaiian Airlines Classic win over No. 25 Kansas State has helped the Wahine heal their collective psyche somewhat. A victory today over Louisville would help even more, as well as move No. 16 UH (2-2) above .500 for the first time this season.
"Friday was a huge win for us," Wahine coach Dave Shoji said. "Not only for our confidence but for our national prominence. We couldn't afford to lose that one."
Hawaii made several impressive comebacks against the Wildcats on Friday, a performance summed up by several Wahine players as heart.
"We bounced back this week," senior middle Juliana Sanders said.
"Our team has a lot of heart and it showed."
Hawaii continues rebuilding its self-image against the Cardinals, who went down quickly to the Wildcats yesterday 30-27, 30-23, 30-16.
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It was a luxury, being able to watch a match while not in uniform or being taped up. Sort of like a field trip ... one where the test comes the next day.
Catch more updates on the UH Sports Extra blog
It was "Casual Saturday" for the 16th-ranked Hawaii volleyball team, dressed to enjoy the first free Saturday in a month. The Rainbow Wahine watched a part of yesterday's match between two teams that had both suffered the first defeat of their respective seasons Friday night: No. 25 Kansas State, Hawaii's victim in four sets, and Louisville, the Wahine's opponent in today's second match of the Hawaiian Airlines Classic.
The Wildcats rebounded from their loss to the Wahine with a somewhat surprising 30-27, 30-23, 30-16 sweep of the Cardinals at the Stan Sheriff Center. K-State (5-1) takes on No. 5 UCLA (2-1) in today's first match at 2:30 p.m.
Hawaii faces Louisville (3-2), a tall, athletic team with a European-style offense with a number of experienced international players. The pressure is on Hawaii's block, which lost that battle 17-15.5 Friday to K-State.
"Louisville's a really good team, with a lot of athletic, dynamic players," Wahine senior middle Juliana Sanders said. "They're tall, and that definitely puts more pressure on the middles and our block.
"We'll have to be smarter with our shots, play better overall defense because they'll hit over us. We'll have to really focus."
JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARBULLETIN.COM
Hawaii's Jamie Houston put down a kill past Kansas State's Megan Farr, left, and Nataly Korobkova on Friday night.
The concentration will be on slowing down 6-foot-6 junior hitter Jana Matiasovska and 6-3 middle Svetlana Dukule. Matiasovska has carried the team both days, with 15 against the Bruins on Friday and 10 against the Wildcats yesterday.
"They've got some outstanding players, some real bangers," Hawaii coach Dave Shoji said. "No. 10 (Matiasovska) is really good. We'll have to hit smart, pass well and run our offense."
Hawaii studied film of the Cardinals before watching them in Game 1. The players had the rest of the day off, with some attending the UH-Northern Colorado football game -- "Stay out of the sun," Shoji told them -- and others spending time with family or relaxing at home.
Three Wahine who share a house -- Kari Gregory, Tara Hittle and Caroline Blood -- went to the beach prior to the film session.
"When volleyball is so all-consuming, it's nice to have a couple of hours to go out and do something different," Gregory, a senior middle, said. "But even though we were sitting out and relaxing, we talked about volleyball. Our minds are never completely off volleyball.
"I think it will be a good match with Louisville. We haven't played a team as tall as they are, and it will be good to see that. We had such a bad feeling last weekend that (Friday's) win felt really good. Last weekend, wasn't 'Hawaii Volleyball' and the reality that that could be our season hit us."
"I think Friday that we took a step forward instead of a step backward in overall play," Sanders said. "But there's still lots of areas we can improve on. We can't take any team lightly."
Kansas State 3, Louisville 0
The Wildcats opened the match in a 0-6 hole but quickly dug themselves out. After 84 minutes, they had buried the Cardinals.
K-State hit .480, with all three of its kill leaders hitting .500 or better: Rita Liliom (16 kills, .583), Natalya Korobkova (15, .500) and Jenny Jantsch (12, .550). Megan Farr was in on seven of the team's eight blocks.
The Wildcats' serving continued to plague them, with 17 errors to eight aces.