Wahine will not look past LaTech


POSTED: Thursday, October 01, 2009

Hawaii and Louisiana Tech are the antipodes of Western Athletic Conference volleyball, and not just because of the 4,100-plus miles that separate the two schools. Consider that the Rainbow Wahine have lost two WAC matches since the start of the 2007 season; the Lady Techsters have won just two.




#5 .:. COUNTDOWN TO 1,000

        Who: No. 4 Hawaii (11-2, 2-0 WAC) at Louisiana Tech (11-7, 1-1)

When: Today, 2 p.m.


Radio: ESPN 1420-AM


TV: None


Series: Hawaii leads 13-0




“;It's so frustrating playing against Dave (Shoji),”; La- Tech coach Matt Sonnichsen said of his UH counterpart. “;He constantly reloads. They can graduate five first-team All-Americans and be just as good the next year.

“;But I also really enjoy playing against his teams. They play the game the right way, always at a high level, don't talk through the net. They're superior without trying to embarrass you. You see things that you want your team to emulate, that will make you a better coach. It's nice to play them even if the odds are very much in their favor.”;

Sweet talk will only get you so far, and it's doubtful that it will carry the Lady Techsters to what would be one of the biggest upsets in college volleyball history. Going into today's match at the Thomas Assembly Center, Hawaii holds a 13-0 edge in the series, as well as an impressive 39-1 margin in sets.

Still, it is the first road match for Hawaii after five weeks at home, a trip that includes Saturday's contest at New Mexico State. The Aggies (7-4, 2-0) have been the closest thing to a rival for the Wahine in the past few WAC seasons “;but I don't think we're going to look past Louisiana Tech,”; Shoji said. “;They beat one of the better teams in the WAC (Utah State on Saturday) and are obviously improved.

“;I feel good about how our team handles the road. We have a number of players who have made this trip before and know what to expect.”;

Wahine sophomore transfer Lex Forsythe has a unique perspective. Although this is her first road trip for Hawaii, it will be the second year the middle blocker has played against LaTech; last season, Forsythe had three kills but hit .000 as her Houston Baptist team fell to the Lady Techsters 3-1.

“;We should have beaten them, but every team says that when they lose,”; Forsythe said. “;I'm excited to go on my first trip with this team, see how we do on the road.

“;It's a different type of trip. Last year, we rode a bus (from Houston) the whole way.”;

(Hawaii flew into Dallas yesterday morning, then flew to Monroe, La., before driving to Ruston).

Forsythe didn't start against the Lady Techsters last year and isn't expected to start tonight. In the second middle spot for the Wahine will be redshirt freshman Brittany Hewitt, who continues to lead the country in blocks (1.62 bps).

If the substitution pattern continues, Forsythe will sub for Hewitt in Game 3. Forsythe has committed only three hitting errors—all in the five-set loss to Cal—in 10 matches, and has 18 kills with no errors in 27 attempts in her last five appearances.

Sonnichsen said he knew what to expect from Hawaii before looking at any tape. His concern is that his team again plays well, as they did in beating Utah State on Saturday and, for the most part, in the 3-1 loss to New Mexico State on Sunday.

The victory over Utah State was the first in 27 WAC matches, dating back to the Sept. 29, 2007, win over Boise State.


Hawaii-Fresno State on ESPNU

The Oct. 29 volleyball match between Hawaii and host Fresno State is one of four Western Athletic Conference contests ESPNU will televise, the WAC announced yesterday.

Also scheduled are Idaho at Utah State, Oct. 19; Fresno State at New Mexico State, Oct. 22; and the WAC tournament title match, Nov. 25.

ESPNU is carried on Oceanic Cable channel 219.