Wahine dominant in season opener


POSTED: Saturday, August 29, 2009

The new Taraflex floor received a traditional Hawaiian blessing, and the Rainbow Wahine followed with an appropriate christening.

Led by sophomore hitter Kanani Danielson's 16 kills and a torrid outing from the service line, No. 7 Hawaii needed only 80 minutes to sweep past Western Michigan 25-17, 25-16, 25-14 in the second match of the Chevron Invitational.

A Stan Sheriff Center crowd of 4,461 saw the Wahine serve up nine aces—a career-tying five by senior Aneli Cubi-Otineru—and hit an impressive .365. Cubi-Otineru had no errors in 15 swings while adding nine kills.

In yesterday's opener, junior hitter Dicey McGraw was nearly perfect, putting down 12 kills, and ninth-ranked UCLA swept No. 25 Santa Clara in 87 minutes, 25-21, 25-16, 25-18.

The Bruins (1-0) see their second set of Broncos when facing Western Michigan (0-1) at 5 p.m. today. Hawaii (1-0) takes on Santa Clara (0-1) in the second match.

“;Santa Clara's a much better team than they showed tonight,”; Wahine coach Dave Shoji said. “;We're happy with how we played, but we know we have to go back to work tomorrow.

“;And we have to conserve some energy, especially our outsides, because it will be tough that third night (Sunday against UCLA).”;

Not that last night was easy, but the way setter Dani Mafua ran the offense—isolating the block and getting one-on-ones for most of her attackers—it just seemed that way. Setting the tone was Amber Kaufman, who had a kill and two aces to get Hawaii out to a quick 3-0 lead.

“;You'd never know we were a good ball-control team,”; WMU coach Colleen Munson said. “;We never really bounced back after that start. Hawaii is a very talented team, aggressive, always in system.

“;We should have given them a better match.”;

A lot of the Broncos' woes came for how well the Wahine played. Danielson had a career-high-tying five blocks—including two solo—and the Rainbow Wahine had 46 digs, led by Cubi-Otineru's 14.

“;Everything was really good tonight,”; said Cubi-Otineru. “;The defense was awesome, the offense was unbelievable. We served tough.”;

Asked if this was how she expected opening night to be, Danielson responded: “;I just expected us to play like in practice. The passing was on the money, They're a good team, made us work.”;

Michelle Moore had 10 kills for WMU, which hit .180.

No. 9 UCLA 3, No. 25 Santa Clara 0

If there were question marks about a freshman setter and a sophomore libero, the Bruins quickly found out they have the answers in place.

Freshman setter Lauren Cook—daughter of Nebraska coach John Cook—was impressive in her debut, and sophomore libero Lainey Gera helped solidify the passing and serve-receive games that lifted UCLA to its 11th consecutive season-opening victory.

“;I thought we played well,”; Bruins coach Andy Banachowski. “;Hitting (.262) is respectable, against a good team like Santa Clara.

“;And Dicey has been amazing the whole preseason.”;


Hawaii def. Western Michigan

25-17, 25-16, 25-14



























































































































































































Broncos (0-1)



Rainbow Wahine (1-0)

Key—s: sets played; k: kills; e: hitting errors; att: attempts; pct: hitting percentage; d: digs; bs: block solo; ba: block assists; pts: points (kills + blocks + aces)
Aces—Western Michigan (0). Hawaii (9): Cubi-Otineru 5, Kaufman 3, Ferrell. Assists—Western Michigan (31): Mitchell 29, Doyle, Strimel. Hawaii (43): Mafua 37, Ka'aihue 2, Brandt 2, Cubi-Otineru, Ferrell.
T—1:20. Officials—Dickson Chun, Ernest Ho. A—4,461.