Wahine want to get back to dominating


POSTED: Friday, November 06, 2009

There was a sense of failure, even though Hawaii walked out of the Save Mart Center last Thursday with a victory. It was as if the defending Olympic gold medalist in the high jump had no-heighted at the minimum attempt.

The Rainbow Wahine volleyball team did not play well on national television against Fresno State eight days ago, while the Bulldogs may have had their best match of the decade. It was the perfect storm, something Hawaii is determined not to have happen in tonight's rematch at the Stan Sheriff Center.

“;We know that, especially in the WAC, every team is going to have their best game against us,”; Wahine senior hitter Aneli Cubi-Otineru said. “;They definitely had their best game, were very scrappy, and it was a good challenge for us.”;

“;We just had a bad match,”; added senior reserve setter Stephanie Brandt. “;Obviously, every single aspect of our game fell apart.

“;We definitely want to show them the level we are capable of playing, that we really are the best team.”;




FRESNO STATE (12-11, 5-6) AT NO. 3 HAWAII (21-2, 11-0)

        When: 7 p.m. today

Where: Stan Sheriff Center


Radio: KKEA 1420-AM


TV: KFVE (Ch. 5)


Series: Hawaii leads 45-0




While Hawaii, riding a 17-match winning streak, is a virtual lock to win the regular-season Western Athletic Conference title for a 14th consecutive time, Fresno State is fighting for its WAC postseason life. This year's tournament field will include only the top six teams; the Bulldogs are fourth in the standings, with Nos. 4 through 8 separated by two games.

Last week, Fresno State held Hawaii to its lowest hitting in a single set of WAC play (.059) in Set 2. The Wahine ended up hitting .312 in the 25-19, 23-25, 25-15, 25-20 victory.

“;They gave us problems tactically, with backsets to the right, which we don't see a lot,”; Hawaii coach Dave Shoji said. “;We didn't handle it very well.

“;There's motivation for this match. I don't think anybody was happy with the way we played, especially on national TV. The expectations are higher. It's not just about winning, but about dominating. We didn't do that and it felt almost like a loss because we set the bar so high.”;

Fresno State holds the record for futility against Hawaii, 0-45 in the series that began in 1983. The Bulldogs also hold the mark for fewest points scored (two) against the Wahine in a 15-2, 15-0, 15-0 loss in that first meeting.

But it's a different era for Fresno State under second-year coach Lauren Netherby-Sewell. The Bulldogs are three away from tying for the most victories (15) overall since 2004 and need one to match the six WAC wins, also in 2004.

While not looking past Fresno State, Hawaii is looking forward to Sunday's 5 p.m. match against Utah State. Not only is it the first meeting with the Aggies; it's senior night for Cat Fowler, Amber Kaufman, Jayme Lee, Brandt and Cubi-Otineru.

“;I'm not prepared to lose these players yet,”; Shoji said. “;It's slowly sinking in. That's what senior night is all about. You realize how much you're going to miss this class. It's a real valuable group of players.”;

Utah State spoiled senior night in 2007 by sweeping Hawaii. It was only the second time since moving to the Stan Sheriff Center that the Wahine lost their final regular-season home match; the other was to Stanford in 2002.

“;Getting them for senior night ... how lucky are we?”; Utah State coach Grayson DuBose said. “;Playing Hawaii in Hawaii is always a tough task, and this year is no different. That is a team that is experienced and playing really well, individually and collectively.”;



Sophomore hitter Kanani Danielson was named to the CoSIDA academic all-district second team yesterday, the only Wahine honored. Danielson has a 3.51 GPA. ... Watching yesterday's practice were two former All-Americans, Suzanne Eagye Cox (1984-87) and Lily Kahumoku Olteanu (1999-03), both on vacation.