Seniors lead UH sweep


POSTED: Monday, November 09, 2009

It was a senior night fete befitting the third-ranked volleyball team, done the way that only Hawaii can, with the postmatch celebration taking longer than the 74 minutes Hawaii needed to sweep Utah State.

The Rainbow Wahine sent their five seniors off on a victory lap around the Stan Sheriff Center court via a convincing 25-11, 25-15, 25-21 win over the Aggies.

In their final regular-season home match, the senior quintet all played roles in extending Hawaii's winning streak to 19. It included Aneli Cubi-Otineru matching her uniform number—and the number on T-shirts worn by some 100 family and friends—with 13 kills, and libero Jayme Lee picking up her first kill of the season on a dig that went over the net for a 23-20 lead in Set 3.

A crowd of 6,087 watched as middle Amber Kaufman added 10 kills, defensive specialist/setter Stephanie Brandt had two assists and five digs, and senior hitter Cat Fowler three kills as Hawaii improved to 23-2 overall, 13-0 in the Western Athletic Conference. Sophomore hitter Kanani Danielson notched her fifth double-double with 13 kills and 14 digs.

Utah State (14-13, 5-9), with no seniors on its team, got seven kills from sophomore hitter Liz McArthur and 10 digs from junior libero Christine Morrill. The Aggies see the Wahine again next Monday in Logan, Utah, Hawaii's regular-season finale.

“;They're even better than they've been the past few years,”; Utah State coach Grayson DuBose said of Hawaii. “;You see them on film, but you don't know the kind of power they have until you see them in person.

“;Aneli can do so many things and Kanani is Kanani. They are fun to watch.”;

Wahine coach Dave Shoji enjoyed most of it as well, except for parts of Set 3 when Hawaii—with a different lineup—lost some focus.

“;We played well for two games, then it was a little ragged at the end,”; he said. “;But it was a good win and I'm hoping we'll be back to play two more.”;

Hawaii has put in a bid to host the first and second rounds of the NCAA tournament. The Wahine finish the regular season with three road matches and the WAC tournament in Las Vegas prior to Selection Sunday on Nov. 29.

“;It was nice to send the seniors out with a big bang,”; said junior libero Elizabeth Ka'aihue, who had two of the team's seven aces. “;And Jayme getting that kill was awesome. There's so much leadership in our senior class. We're going to miss them.”;

Hawaii opened what might be the final home appearance in style, finishing another gear early in Set 1. The Wahine pulled away from a 5-5 tie with a 9-1 run that included three aces—two by Ka'aihue and one by Danielson.

The Wahine matched their blistering serving with .464 hitting, while the Aggies hit .000. Hawaii got even hotter in Set 2—hitting .514—with Cubi-Otineru and Danielson both putting down four kills.

Cubi-Otineru and Danielson didn't have a hitting error until Set 3, when Cubi-Otineru was blocked on her 21st attempt to cut the Wahine's lead to 18-12. Danielson's 22nd attempt was long as the Aggies pulled to 22-20, forcing Shoji to call a timeout.

Lee's dig turned into a kill and a 23-20 lead. A kill by Shantell Durrant kept the Aggies alive at 23-21, but Danielson put down her 13th kill and McArthur hit wide to end the match and start the festivities.

“;This was a wonderful night,”; Cubi-Otineru's father, Joe, said. “;It's a joy to watch this team play.”;

Asked if his daughter would receive more leis last night than when she graduated last spring, Joe Otineru laughed.

“;It's just starting,”; he said. “;There's over 100 people waiting to come down to give them to her.”;

The victory clinched at least a share of the WAC regular-season title for Hawaii, which can wrap it up outright with a win Thursday at Boise State. New Mexico State and Idaho have also clinched WAC tournament berths.


Three of the four California high school seniors expected to sign with Hawaii on Wednesday were on the bench yesterday. The trio are Long Beach Poly setter Mita Uiato; Los Alamitos middle blocker Emily Hartong; and Mission Viejo hitter Kaela Goodman.

Also expected to sign a national letter of intent Wednesday is Elsinore middle blocker/hitter Michelle Waber.


WAC volleyball standings

x-New Mexico State113.7862 1/216-8
Boise State67.46176-19
Fresno State57.4177 1/212-12
Nevada57.4177 1/29-16
Utah State59.3578 1/214-13
Louisiana Tech410.3089 1/214-16
San Jose State112.083121-23

x-clinched tournament berth

Hawaii def. Utah State 25-11, 25-12, 25-21
Nevada at Fresno State
Centenary at Louisiana Tech


NO. 3 Hawaii def. Utah State 25-11, 25-12, 25-21















































































































































































Aggies (14-13, 5-9 WAC)
 skeatt pctdbsbapts



Rainbow Wahine (16-2, 7-0 WAC)
 skeatt pctdbsbaPts

Key —s: games; k: kills; e: hitting errors; att: attempts; pct: hitting percentage; d: digs; bs: block solo; ba: block assists
Aces—Utah State (1): Fowles. Hawaii (7): Cubi-Otineru 2, Kaaihue 2, Danielson, Kaufman, Lee. Service Errors—Utah State (3): Fowles (2), McArthur. Hawaii (5): Cubi-Otineru 3, Brandt, Kaufman. Assists—Utah State (21): Fowles 18, Durrant 2, Kortsen. Hawaii (47): Mafua 40, Kaaihue 3, Brandt 2, Danielson, Kaufman.
T—1:14. Officials—Eric Asami, Earnest Ho. A—6,078.