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Wahine hit the floor with Huskers in mind


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POSTED: Sunday, March 15, 2009

Feeling a bit beaten down with injuries to key outside hitters, the Hawaii women's volleyball team got a chance to do a little beating up yesterday in an informal tournament at Klum Gym.

The Rainbow Wahine, using multiple combinations that allowed setters Dani Mafua and Stephanie Brandt to take swings as outside hitters, went 3-0 when defeating Brigham Young-Hawaii, Hawaii Pacific and an alumnae team comprised mostly of former HPU and UH players. The Hawaii lineup, down to one healthy outside hitter (freshman Kanani Danielson), got boosts from senior hitter Jamie Houston's “;guest”; appearance and junior hitter Aneli Cubi-Otineru (knee surgery) playing extensively in the back row.

Whether the Wahine are ready to face Nebraska in Thursday's exhibition remains to be seen. But Hawaii coach Dave Shoji felt better when leaving Klum than he had earlier in the week after freshman hitter Stephanie Ferrell fractured her ankle in practice on Tuesday.

“;We got much needed work done,”; Shoji said. “;It was good to have other people on the other side of the net.

“;I'm not sure what we'll do Thursday. We probably need to see both setters. But Brandt was our best hitter out there today. She has a live arm and is not a bad option out there.”;

Of Hawaii's three freshman redshirts, middle Brittany Hewitt saw the most action. But liberos Emily Maeda and Sarah Prather got some court time.

BYUH coach Wilfred Navalta was impressed by what he saw on Hawaii's side of the net.

“;UH was very, very scrappy on defense,”; Navalta said, his team finishing 1-2. “;I haven't seen Nebraska, but they'll have a big block. UH will have to hit smart.

“;But in long rallies, I think UH has the advantage. If you don't terminate, they're going to put it back on you. We didn't have the athletes to do it.”;

One Wahine who terminated frequently was Danielson. She said she was looking forward to playing Nebraska, especially since the talk earlier in the week was of a possible cancellation of the match.

“;But we have Huey (Houston) coming back and that's a nice bonus for us,”; Danielson said. “;We've been working hard since we got off Christmas break and we want to put all that hard work to use.

“;We need to do well in spring to build on for fall. We've got good team chemistry. And Brandt? Wherever coach needs her to go, she's there and does her job.”;

Shoji said that senior libero Tara Hittle, who played for the Wahine basketball team, likely would not play against the Huskers. Besides Brandt, libero Elizabeth Ka'aihue likely will see time on the outside.

“;Not bad for a week's practice,”; Shoji said. “;We're about as ready as we can be.”;

Thursday's exhibition is at 7 p.m. at the Stan Sheriff Center. General admission tickets are $3-7.