Danielson soars over NMSU


POSTED: Sunday, October 04, 2009

It was one time Mike Jordan wishes he had been wrong.

When the New Mexico State volleyball coach was discussing the various Hawaii players during an interview with the Star-Bulletin on Friday, Jordan paused before commenting on Rainbow Wahine sophomore hitter Kanani Danielson.

“;She is so gifted, a special player, the best in our conference,”; Jordan said. “;Slowing her down is not easy. She can beat you in so many ways.”;

Danielson did just that last night in Las Cruces, N.M. She had 21 kills, taking over at the end of the crucial Set 3 with six straight points, to lead the fourth-ranked Wahine to a 25-21, 15-25, 25-22, 25-11 victory over the Aggies in 1 hour and 55 minutes.

While Hawaii saw one streak end—the Wahine had swept their last eight opponents—the more important streak continued, that of consecutive victories. With their ninth win in a row, Hawaii improved to 13-2 and is the lone undefeated team atop the Western Athletic Conference standings at 4-0.

A season-high crowd of 4,289 in the Pan American Center saw New Mexico State drop to 8-5 and 3-1.

“;Kanani stepped up when we needed the big plays,”; Hawaii coach Dave Shoji said after picking up career win No. 997. “;I looked down at the stats in Game 1 and she had five hitting errors. She didn't have another the rest of the night.

“;She righted the ship.”;

Danielson hit .000 in the opening set, with five kills and five errors in 12 attempts. She had 17 kills with no errors on 29 swings the rest of the way.

“;It was not a mismatch issue either,”; Jordan said last night. “;We had a couple of blockers on her. She was just really good, clearly the best player on the court.”;

Danielson came up huge at the end of Set 3 with the Wahine trailing 22-21. Her 14th kill tied it and she added four more kills and had a solo block of Kelsey Brennan in a personal 6-0 run that gave Hawaii the 2-1 lead.

New Mexico State wasn't the same after that, falling behind 6-1 and never getting closer than 12-8. A kill by Aneli Cubi-Otineru put the Wahine ahead 18-10, and they outscored the Aggies 7-1 in finishing the match, with New Mexico State's only point coming on Cubi-Otineru's service error.

“;Maybe there was a carryover from losing the close Game 3,”; Jordan said. “;We had the lead and the match was hanging in the balance. It took a little wind out of our sails.

“;Game 4, they played well and we shanked the ball all over the gym. Our serve-receive was a problem and Hawaii was clearly the better team.”;

The Wahine hit .571 in Set 4 with 12 kills and no errors in 21 swings. The statistical anomaly was Set 2, in which Hawaii had only three errors, hitting .308, but lost by 10.

“;I felt we fell asleep in Game 2, weren't working hard,”; Shoji said. “;They have a good serving team and we passed poorly.

“;I thought we got a good effort from (Stephanie) Ferrell. She was very steady, blocked well, and her overall hitting was good. We need her to play well. She's very dynamic and she hit smart tonight.”;

Ferrell finished with 11 kills. Amber Kaufman was in on four of the team's 12 blocks and Elizabeth Ka'aihue had 15 of the 48 digs.

Kayleigh Giddens led New Mexico State with 18 kills and Krista Altermatt had 14.

Hawaii returns home for four matches, beginning with Thursday's contest against Nevada (5-11, 1-2). The Wolf Pack were stunned by host Louisiana Tech last night, 25-20, 25-16, 25-21.



New Mexico State31.75018-6
Idaho21.6671 1/26-9
Louisiana Tech22.500212-8
Utah State22.500210-6
Fresno State12.3332 1/28-7
Nevada12.3332 1/25-11
Boise State13.25031-13
San Jose State03.00030-13

Hawaii def. New Mexico State 25-21, 15-25, 25-22, 25-11.
Louisiana Tech def. Nevada 25-20, 25-16, 25-21.
Utah State def. Boise State 22-25, 24-26, 25-21, 25-20, 15-13.
Idaho def. Fresno State 22-25, 25-16, 22-25, 25-16, 15-10.
Boise State at Utah Valley


NO. 4 HAWAII DEF. NEW MEXICO ST. 25-21, 15-25, 25-22, 25-11

Aggies (8-5, 3-1 WAC)

 skeatt pctdbsbapts

Rainbow Wahine (13-2, 4-0 WAC)

 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—New Mexico St. (3): Birmingham 2, Brown. Hawaii (1): Mafua. Service Errors—New Mexico St. (5): Birmingham, Devries, Giddens, Phillips, Wolfe. Hawaii (5): Cubi-Otineru 4, Kaufman. Assists—New Mexico St. (43): Devries 40, Brown, Giddens, Phillips. Hawaii (48): Mafua 45, Ka'aihue 2, Cubi-Otineru.
T—1:55. Officials—Not Available. A—4,289.