UH, Texas see match as measuring stick


POSTED: Saturday, September 05, 2009

What does it mean in the grand scheme of things when Nos. 2 and 4 meet in the second week of the season?

Not much.

And everything.

Obviously, one team's perfect record will be pau. But it's not as if the entire season will be over, as happened when Hawaii eliminated host Texas in the second round of the 2005 NCAA volleyball tournament.

The Rainbow Wahine (4-0) and Longhorns (3-0) are using tonight's match in the Hawaiian Airlines Classic as a measuring stick. How far they have come the past few weeks and how much more work is needed to get them where they want to go ... to Tampa, Fla., for the NCAA championship.

“;It's important for us to be playing on the road, against a quality team like Hawaii, in an environment like this,”; Texas coach Jerritt Elliott said after yesterday's practice. “;This is why we're over here, knowing we'll be on the road this year (for a regional). Everything is being done to set up for the end of the year, to put the players in situations where they'll be uncomfortable, to have them deal with being on the road for a long period of time.




NO. 2 TEXAS (3-0) AT NO. 4 HAWAII (4-0)

        When: 6:50 tonight

Where: Stan Sheriff Center


TV/Radio: PPV Ch. 255, KKEA, 1420-AM




“;All I can say is I'm glad Dave (Hawaii coach Shoji) is not at 999 (career wins). I don't want to be the one.”;

Elliott doesn't have to worry about going down in UH's history book. Shoji is sitting at 988.

Still, to notch 989 against Texas would be considered a milestone victory. Wins over top-10 teams have been rare the past few seasons; No. 9 UCLA last week, No. 9 Washington last season, No. 6 USC in 2006 and No. 7 Texas in 2005.

“;It would be huge,”; Hawaii senior setter Dani Mafua said. “;As long as we play our game, play our best beginning to end, we'll come up with the 'W.'”;

The match features two of the best high jumpers in the country in reigning NCAA champion Destinee Hooker, a 6-foot-4 senior hitter for the Longhorns, and 6-foot Wahine senior middle Amber Kaufman, who finished third at the NCAAs.

“;We know Kaufman can get hot,”; Elliott said. “;We saw her take good swings (in Thursday's win over No. 19 Saint Louis). “;Hawaii's got a very high volleyball IQ and they have quickness, which are concerns. We'll need to make good adjustments, blocking-wise.”;

Texas has the overall advantage in size and physicality. Hawaii counters with ball control, serving and quickness.

“;I think they have the better athletes but we have the better volleyball players,”; Shoji said. “;We'll have to play fast and we'll have to hit smart.”;

No. 10 Cal (2-2) and No. 19 Saint Louis (2-2) meet at 5 p.m.