Rainbow Wahine roll through Idaho unbeaten


POSTED: Sunday, November 15, 2009

An unbeaten conference season had been the norm for Hawaii volleyball until lately. The Rainbow Wahine have continued to dominate the Western Athletic Conference but have had at least one loss the past three seasons.

This year's senior class can get a new streak started tomorrow with a win at Utah State. Last night, No. 3 Hawaii moved to within one win of perfection via a 25-12, 25-15, 25-21 victory at Idaho in Moscow.

Senior outside hitter Aneli Cubi-Otineru put down a match-high 16 kills to lead the Wahine to their 21st straight victory in 79 minutes at Memorial Gym. Hawaii improved to 25-2 and 15-0 in the WAC, while the Vandals dropped to 14-14 and 10-5.

Idaho's loss, combined with New Mexico State's win at Fresno State last night, cleared up two of the seedings for the WAC tournament in Las Vegas. The Aggies clinched the No. 2 seed, while Idaho will be No. 3. Hawaii clinched the top seed two weeks ago.

“;Aneli had a nice night,”; Hawaii coach Dave Shoji said of Cubi-Otineru, who had eight kills in Set 1 in setting the tone. “;I thought we got off to a good start (6-1 in Set 1) and served tough, played good defense.

“;I don't think going undefeated in conference was on our list this season. We set the bar a little higher than that.”;

Still, the Wahine can finish off their first undefeated WAC season since 2005 tomorrow at Utah State. The loss at New Mexico State in 2006 snapped a string of seven consecutive unbeaten WAC seasons, dating back to a 3-1 loss at Brigham Young in 1998.

Cubi-Otineru had three of Hawaii's seven aces last night, with junior libero Elizabeth Ka'aihue adding two, including the one that ended Set 2. Ka'aihue also had a team-high 15 digs.

Sophomore hitter Stephanie Ferrell had nine kills and sophomore hitter Kanani Danielson seven kills to go with 11 digs.

That Danielson, the team's kill leader, wasn't more a part of the offense didn't concern Shoji. When the block was stacked, junior setter Dani Mafua went to other options.

“;It's not a concern,”; Shoji said. “;Kanani will get her kills.”;

If there was a disappointment, it was how uneven the team played, particularly in Set 3.

“;It got a little ragged at the end,”; Shoji said. “;I would have liked to finish better.

“;Monday (against Utah State) we want to continue to improve on every facet of our game. We can't wait for the NCAA (tournament) to elevate our game.”;

Sarah Conwell led Idaho with seven kills but hit .000.

The Vandals, leading the nation in blocking, did win that battle 10-6, with half their blocks coming against a different Wahine starting lineup.



Nevada (11-18, 7-8) eliminated Louisiana Tech (15-18, 4-12) from tournament-berth contention when sweeping the Lady Techsters, 25-12, 25-14, 25-16.

The top three seeds have been decided, with Hawaii at No. 1, New Mexico State No. 2 and Idaho No. 3. Nevada and Boise State have clinched berths, while Fresno State (6-9) and Utah State (5-9) are battling for the sixth berth.


NO. 3 HAWAII DEF. IDAHO 25-12, 25-15, 25-21























































































































































Rainbow Wahine (25-2, 15-0 WAC)



Vandals (14-14, 10-5 WAC)

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—Hawaii (7): Cubi-Otineru 3, Ka'aihue 2, Kaufman, Brandt. Idaho (5): Feicht 2, Rice 2, Pederson. Service Errors—Hawaii (3): Cubi-Otineru, Ka'aihue, Brandt. Idaho (3): Conwell 2, Feicht. Assists—Hawaii (43): Mafua 36, Danielson 3, Cubi-Otineru 2, Kaaihue 2. Idaho (24): Feicht 22, Hamilton, Rice.
T—1:19. Officials—Maile Merrell-Jewkes, Barbara Farnsworth. A—578.



xy-Hawaii (1)1501.00025-2
x-New Mexico St. (2)133.7862 1/218-8
x-Idaho (3)105.750514-14
x-Boise State78.45787-20
Fresno State69.400913-14
Utah State59.3579 1/214-13
Louisiana Tech412.30811 1/215-18
San Jose State114.068141-24

x-clinched WAC tournament berth

y-clinched tournament top seed as regular-season champion

Hawaii def. Idaho, 25-12, 25-15, 25-21
Boise State der. San Jose State, 25-22, 25-12, 19-25, 25-21
New Mexico State def. Fresno State, 25-19, 25-21, 25-22
Nevada def. Louisiana Tech, 25-12, 25-14, 25-16