UH feels good about 3-win trip
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Back home. Back to work.
While there is satisfaction in returning from a three-match road trip undefeated, the No. 13 Hawaii volleyball team knows there's a lot of work still to be done.
"We want to keep the level of play high," Juliana Sanders said. "We are coming off a great road trip (three victories in five days). People are tired, but we want to continue to get better.
"I have so much confidence in my teammates when we need to be consistent."
Hawaii (11-3) was just that while picking up three road wins and moving to 5-0 in league play.
The victory at then-No. 25 New Mexico State on Saturday not only avenged last year's loss in Las Cruces, N.M., but also showed something to the Wahine coaching staff.
"I think we probably followed the game plan better than we had all year," Hawaii coach Dave Shoji said of the 3-2 win over the Aggies.
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Same old song and dance?
Nope, that's what playing next door to the Stan Sheriff Center when Aerosmith takes over lower campus this weekend.
For the No. 13 Hawaii volleyball team -- working out in Gym I -- it's more like "Draw the Line." Because that's what the Rainbow Wahine have done by taking control of the Western Athletic Conference title race at 5-0.
Now, they have a week's worth of practices to get even better before hosting Nevada next Friday.
"It was a good road trip, but every player still has something to work on, needs to get better at something," Hawaii coach Dave Shoji said. "Winning at New Mexico State (in five Saturday) was big, but I was more impressed with our team Monday (3-0) against what I thought was a pretty good San Jose State team, where we won pretty easily.
"We've got a nice break, some time to get back and work on fundamentals."
It was also a time to reunite the players who had stayed behind with those who had gone on the road. Not making the trip were defensive specialists Raeceen Woolford, Rayna Kitaguchi and Elise Duggins, and freshman hitter Stephanie Ferrell.
"We did a lot of conditioning, a lot of conditioning," Kitaguchi said. "And tried to get in as many reps that we could, although it was hard without a setter.
"We all wished we could be there and not listening on the radio. I tried my best to stay in touch with the games. It's more exciting for the whole team to be at home."
The Wahine host Nevada next Friday and Fresno State on Oct. 7 before taking off on another 3-in-5 road trip with stops at Boise State, Idaho and Utah State. Hawaii returns home for a few days before leaving to take on No. 1 Nebraska on Oct. 21.
"We have time to keep on working toward being more consistent through the whole match," sophomore setter Stephanie Brandt said. "We're definitely working on our offense more and being smarter as a team."
And continue the efficient multi-pronged offense. Hawaii has shown it has offensive weapons at all five attack positions -- with Brandt being equally effective from the service line (18 aces in 14 matches).
"I feel good about the trip," said junior hitter Jamie Houston, the reigning WAC Player of the Week. "We played at our pace and we showed we can play at a high level.
"That's what we want to continue to do. We've got to be ready to play at a high level every game."
Houston moved into the No. 10 spot on the UH career kill list (1,254). She needs just 13 kills to move past Diana Jessie (1,266) for ninth.