Rainbow Wahine look for 12th straight win
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They have worked hard -- very hard -- since their Labor Day loss to then-No. 5 UCLA.
No. 12 Hawaii (14-3, 8-0) at Idaho (9-9, 5-2)
When: Today, 4 p.m. Hawaii time
Radio: Live, KKEA, 1420-AM
Live stats: www.govandals.com
Next up: Monday, at Utah State (9-8, 6-2), 3 p.m. Hawaii time
It has paid off in the form of an 11-match win streak. No. 12 Hawaii will try to make it an even dozen today when facing Idaho in a Western Athletic Conference volleyball match at Memorial Gym (4 p.m. Hawaii time).
The Rainbow Wahine (14-3, 8-0 WAC) are coming off a 90-minute sweep at Boise State on Thursday, while the Vandals (9-9, 5-2) slugged it out with San Jose State for 2 hours and 27 minutes before prevailing in five.
"This was an important win for us," Idaho coach Debbie Buchanan said after her team won its sixth out of the last seven.
Winning today is equally important for Hawaii, which concludes its three-match trek at Utah State on Monday.
"I was encouraged by the way we played Thursday," Wahine coach Dave Shoji said. "But we need to continue playing like that."
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There were many anxious moments yesterday for the Hawaii women's volleyball team, combined with a lot of concern.
And it had nothing to do with today's opponent, Idaho, or the performance that the Vandals' Haley Larsen turned in against San Jose State on Thursday. Larsen, a 5-foot-11 junior hitter, had 31 kills, 19 digs and four aces in a 30-27, 30-27, 23-30, 34-36, 15-9 win.
No, the concern was for the 16th-ranked Hawaii football team, which avoided an upset by San Jose State. The No. 12 Rainbow Wahine watched the game at their hotel.
Asked during halftime what he would be thinking if he were Warriors head coach June Jones, Wahine coach Dave Shoji replied, "I'd be a little nervous right now."
His feelings were warranted until overtime, when the Warriors kept their undefeated season and BCS hopes alive with a 42-35 win.
Not that they needed it, but it was a good reminder about focusing when playing on the road. Shoji said he was pleased with how his team performed when opening up the road trip with a sweep at Boise State on Thursday.
"Hopefully, we'll continue to pass well and hit well," he said. "It's encouraging the way we played Thursday. It's always a bit of a concern on the road, but we didn't give them any free points."
Hawaii had a semi-free day yesterday, not practicing. The team flew 200 miles from Boise to Lewiston, then drove another 30 miles to Moscow.
The focus of the film sessions will be on Larsen, although Idaho also got 16 kills from both junior middle Sarah Loney and sophomore hitter Sarah Conwell.
The Vandals, too, got solid games from sophomore middle Anna McKinney (in on 11 blocks), and sophomore libero Kelsey Yonker (a season-best 31 digs).
Idaho nearly finished the match in four, taking match point in Game 4 at 29-27, but lost it 36-34. The Vandals took a 7-3 lead in Game 5 and were never headed in moving to .500 for the first time since 2005.
Hawaii swept Idaho last month in Honolulu, 30-18, 30-13, 30-27. Larsen led the Vandals with eight kills.
Short set: In Thursday's five-game loss at Idaho, San Jose State sophomore libero Kristal Tsukano (Kamehameha '06) became only the second Spartan to record 40 or more digs in a match in the program's history. Tsukano had 42 digs, the highest total in the Western Athletic Conference this season. Former Spartan Jessie Shull had a school-record 47 against UC Santa Barbara last season and 42 against Fresno State in 2004.