Wahine advance to WAC final


POSTED: Wednesday, November 25, 2009

LAS VEGAS >> Mike Jordan has said it all season. Hawaii has no 'ghosts' … players that an opponent doesn't have to worry about.

“;They're a team that can set anyone and score from any position,”; the New Mexico State volleyball coach said. “;They don't have anyone that you can just forget about.”;

The third-ranked Rainbow Wahine may have no ghosts but that doesn't mean they aren't scary. As the 1,827 very pro Hawaii fans saw last night at the Orleans Arena, the Wahine can be very impressive from all places on the court.

Behind the rocket arms of Kanani Danielson and Aneli Cubi-Otineru at the net and the rockets serves on the baseline, top-seeded Hawaii advanced to its 10th consecutive Western Athletic Conference tournament final. Danielson had 12 kills, Cubi-Otineru added 11 and each had two of the team's eight aces in a 25-15, 25-15, 25-17 win over sixth-seeded Fresno State.

It was the 23rd consecutive win for Hawaii (27-2). The Wahine will see New Mexico State (19-8) for the championship for the fourth straight year today at 4:30 p.m.

Kayleigh Giddens put down 13 kills and the Aggies made an impressive comeback in Set 2 in sweeping fifth-seeded Boise State.

; “;I thought New Mexico State looked good tonight, especially after they got down in Game 2,”; Hawaii coach Dave Shoji said. “;We had hoped it would go four or five.

“;Our big focus will be on our passing. They serve tough and we'll need to stay in our system. I don't think how we win has any bearing on the (NCAA) selection committee (and NCAA seeding). The bottom line is we want to win for ourselves and to feel good going into the playoffs.”;

The Wahine hit .390 for the night, including .519 in Set 3, to Fresno State's .136. Kelli Parker led the Bulldogs with eight kills.

“;What I told our seniors is to look how far they've come,”; Fresno State coach Lauren Netherby-Sewell said. “;Last year we were eighth, in the play-in against the bottom team. This year, we earned our way to play against the best team in the WAC and one of the best teams in the country.

“;Hawaii is pretty stacked. When you look at where you need to swing and get kills, it's pretty slim pickings. If New Mexico State plays really well, they have a lot of options. Same with Hawaii. It's all going to depend on who passes the best.”;

If there was an X-factor for the Wahine last night, it was the strong play of Stephanie Ferrell. The sophomore hitter had been struggling this season but put down nine kills last night.

Elizabeth Ka'aihue anchored Hawaii's defense with 14 digs.

New Mexico State 3, Boise State 0

With his team down 24-19 in Set 2 against the Broncos, Aggies coach Jordan was beginning to think his luck had run out. Jordan had won $600 playing cards Monday, including hitting a true blackjack (ace-jack of spades) but hitting for five straight points might be pushing it.

Behind the serving of Erin Birmingham, New Mexico State beat the odds, holding off five set points and scoring seven straight to take a 2-0 lead en route to the 93-minute sweep.



At Las Vegas

(Seedings in parenthesis)

Yesterday's semifinals

New Mexico State (2) def. Boise State (5), 25-16, 26-24, 25-10

Hawaii (1) def. Fresno State (6), 25-15, 25-15, 25-17

NO. 3 HAWAII DEF. FRESNO STATE 25-15, 25-15, 25-17

Bulldogs (15-16)

Gera, La.34212.1670004.0
Gera, Li.31011.0002003.0



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 — Fresno St. (4): Gera, Li. 2, Mason, Clarke. Hawaii (8): Brandt 2, Cubi-Otineru 2, Danielson 2, Kaufman, Mafua. Service Errors — Fresno St. (7): Munson 2, Parker 2, Clarke, Moss, Platt. Hawaii (4): Mafua 2, Cubi-Otineru 2. Assists — Fresno St. (24): Munson 14, Gera, Li. 8, Parker, Moss. Hawaii (44): Mafua 33, Danielson 4 ,Lee 2, Brandt 2, Kaaihue 2, Cubi-Otineru.

T — 1:20. Officials — Margie Ray, Kit Kitade. A — 1,827.