Wahine crush the Waves


POSTED: Saturday, September 19, 2009

Even on an off night, even when the passing was somewhere east of Manoa, Hawaii found a way to come together.

It wasn't pretty against No. 25 Pepperdine last night at the Stan Sheriff Center. But the fourth-ranked Rainbow Wahine managed to turn it into a 99-minute sweep of the Waves.

Led by Kanani Danielson's 11 kills and a solid block anchored by Brittany Hewitt, Hawaii picked up its fourth consecutive win, 25-18, 25-20, 25-21. A turnstile crowd of 4,559 saw the Wahine (8-2) top the Waves (7-4) for the eighth straight meeting.

“;Obviously Hawaii is playing very well, very confident,”; Pepperdine coach Nina Matthies said after her team's second loss in three days. “;I was disappointed in my team's effort. We've been competing very well and didn't until Game 3, when we started playing volleyball.

“;Rarely do we get a chance to play a team like this back to back and we get the opportunity to regroup tomorrow. It will be a good test.”;

The teams meet again today at 7 p.m.

It will also be a chance for Hawaii to rectify some issues that plagued the Wahine last night, the top priority being passing.

“;It was way off,”; Hawaii coach Dave Shoji said. “;We didn't have much of a middle game and Dani (setter Mafua) did a really nice job running things down.

“;We weren't ready for the toughness of their serves.”;

Still, the Wahine kept the Waves off balance with their serving, beginning with Set 1, when Hawaii jumped out to a 20-7 lead. Pepperdine made things respectable by rallying late behind libero Stevi Robinson's serving run—which included an ace—that brought her team to within 23-16.

A backset to Aneli Cubi-Otineru gave the Wahine set point at 24-16. Hawaii needed three swings at ending it, with Rachel Grochmal hitting wide for the win.

The teams traded sides with a bit of momentum going over to the Waves in Set 2. Pepperdine took its biggest lead of the match at 7-5 only to have Hawaii quickly erase it, tying it at 7 as Hewitt and Danielson stuffed Kristen Seaton.

It was tied at 8 and then it was over, with Stephanie Brandt's service ace sparking a 3-0 run that put the Wahine ahead for good. The Waves got as close as one twice, but Hawaii continued to stuff Pepperdine's comeback hopes with an efficient block.

The Waves battled back in Set 3, staying close midway through it before Danielson began to take over. She had four kills and a solo block of Kim Hill to push the Wahine ahead at 19-16.

Pepperdine got close but not close enough, unable to make up a five-point deficit (22-17). The Waves pulled to within 22-19 but couldn't prevent the Wahine from notching their fourth consecutive sweep, and sixth of the season.

“;It's all about getting better,”; Danielson said. “;Poor Dani. She had to work through some chaos tonight.

“;Pepperdine is a great team and we have got our work cut out for ourselves tomorrow.”;

Lilla Frederick led Pepperdine with 11 kills and Robinson finished with a match-high 18 digs.

Elizabeth Ka'aihue had 17 digs for the Wahine.



The upset of the night happened at Fullerton, Calif., when the host Titans stunned No. 7 UCLA 25-23, 15-25, 25-20, 18-25, 16-14. It was only the second loss for the Bruins (9-2)—their first was at Hawaii on Sept. 30. Last week, UCLA ended then-No. 5 Nebraska's 90-match home winning streak in five.


NO.4 HAWAII DEF. NO.25 PEPPERDINE 25-18, 25-20, 25-21

Waves (7-4)
 skeatt pctdbsbapts
Rainbow Wahine (8-2)
 skeatt pctdbsbapts

Key —s: games; k: kills; e: hitting errors; att: attempts; pct: hitting percentage; d: digs; bs: block solo; ba: block assists; pts: points (kills plus blocks plus aces)
Aces—Pepperdine (3): Robinson 2, Grochmal. Hawaii (5): Brandt, Cubi-Otineru, Ka'aihue, Kaufman, Mafua. Assists—Pepperdine (34): Fiers 31, Grochmal 2, Hill. Hawaii (31): Mafua 28, Kaufman 2, Ka'aihue.
T—1:39. A—4,559. Officials—Wayne Lee, Earnest Ho.