Change becoming the norm for volleyball
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Need to prove that the only constant is change?
Look no farther than collegiate women's volleyball, where the NCAA is going to a new format for the second time in eight seasons. Hawaii fans will continue getting a sneak preview of the switch tomorrow with the Spring Mini Tournament at the Stan Sheriff Center, where games are being called sets, and sets are being played to 25 points instead of 30.
RAINBOW WAHINE VOLLEYBALL
Mini Spring Tournament; at Stan Sheriff Center; tomorrow:
Cal State Northridge vs. Saint Mary's, 4 p.m.; Hawaii vs. Cal State Northridge, 5:30 p.m.; Hawaii vs. Saint Mary's, 7 p.m.
Rainbow Wahine coach Dave Shoji again is dealing with change, needing to switch some Western Athletic Conference home matches -- and possibly the WAC tournament title match -- from Saturday to Sunday because of a conflict with UH football games at Aloha Stadium.
"We're moving two (regular-season matches)," Shoji said.
The match against New Mexico State originally scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 11, will move to Sunday, Oct. 12. The Saturday, Oct. 25 match against Fresno State will move to Sunday, Oct. 26.
No decision has been made about the Nov. 22 conflict between the WAC volleyball tournament title match at the Sheriff Center and the Hawaii-Idaho football game at Aloha Stadium.
"There is no consideration being given to volleyball," Shoji said. "Most places don't have a conflict because football is played during the day. Other places don't draw (for volleyball) so it doesn't impact them much. Here it does."
Hawaii led the nation in attendance for the 13th consecutive season, drawing 122,588 (6,452 average) in 2007.
The WAC left it up to UH to solve the conflict.
"I haven't heard if anything's been decided," Shoji said. "We may be mandated to play that Saturday."
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Not as sharp as it could have been.
Not as ragged as it might have been.
The first day of the Spring Mini Tournament was a mixed plate of results -- some good, some not as good -- for the Hawaii women's volleyball team. Without a true libero, the Rainbow Wahine had to go to Plan B then Plan C in losses to both Cal State Northridge and Nittaidai of Japan on Tuesday.
With two more practices under their belts, and the return of libero Elizabeth Ka'aihue, the Wahine expect things to be a bit different when they see Cal State Northridge and Saint Mary's tomorrow at the Stan Sheriff Center.
Stephanie Brandt and Dani Mafua will again alternate at setter, but, unlike Tuesday's Plan B, neither will be called upon to move to libero when not setting. (Plan C was using Tara Hittle, who had just one volleyball practice after 10 weeks with the Wahine basketball team, briefly at libero).
"It was obvious that our setters had never taken a passing rep in practice," Hawaii coach Dave Shoji said. "It wasn't fair to them, but it was just one of those things we had to do."
As was the move to right-side hitter for Jamie Houston, an experiment designed to take advantage of her hitting ability out of the back row. It was obvious that Houston, the reigning Western Athletic Conference player of the year as a left-side hitter, wasn't comfortable on the right, but Shoji expects Houston to be able to make the adjustment.
There were several bright spots for UH, including the 10-point serving run by Aneli Cubi-Otineru against the Matadors. Both freshman middle Amanda Simmons and freshman outside hitter Stephanie Ferrell hinted at their potential impact and "showed signs of being able to help us this season," Shoji said.
Hawaii opens with defending national champion Penn State on Aug. 29.
The Rusty Wahine, a team of former Wahine players including Kanoe Kamana'o and Lily Kahumoku, are holding a fundraiser to help pay for the trip to the USAV adult women's open championship in May. The event is scheduled for April 12 from 5:30 to 10 p.m. at Eastside Grill in Puck's Alley. The cost is $10 presale, $15 at the door. For information, e-mail Kamana'o at firstname.lastname@example.org
or call Ryan Tsuji at 554-1848.