10 key matches in a very good year


POSTED: Thursday, December 24, 2009

Aug 28: vs. Western Michigan, won 3-0

Seventh-ranked Hawaii opened its 36th season—coach Dave Shoji's 35th—with a convincing 25-17, 25-16, 25-14 victory over Western Michigan in the Chevron Invitational at the Stan Sheriff Center. Sophomore hitter Kanani Danielson, the Western Athletic Conference preseason player of the year, led the team with 16 kills and tied her career high with five blocks. She would go on to be named the tournament's most outstanding player, setting the tone for an All-American season. Also named to the all-tournament team were senior hitter Aneli Cubi-Otineru and junior setter Dani Mafua.

Aug 29: vs. No. 25 Santa Clara, won 3-1

Aug. 30: vs. No. 9 UCLA, won 3-0

Sept. 3: vs. No. 19 St. Louis, won 3-1


Sept. 5: vs. No. 2 Texas, lost 3-1

Fourth-ranked Hawaii saw its undefeated season end in the fifth match of the season, falling to No. 2 Texas 25-11, 25-23, 22-25, 25-11 in the Hawaiian Airlines Classic. The contest featured two All-American high jumpers, NCAA champion Destinee Hooker of Texas and Hawaii's Amber Kaufman, who placed third. Hooker, who had 12 kills against the Wahine, would be named the NCAA tournament's most outstanding player after putting down a career-high 34 kills in a five-set loss to Penn State in the championship final.


Sept. 6: vs. No. 10 California, lost 3-2

The Wahine rallied from two sets down to force a fifth set, but couldn't finish against No. 10 Cal, losing for a second consecutive night. Sophomore hitter Stephanie Ferrell had a career-high 18 kills in the 25-21, 25-16, 20-25, 17-25, 15-11 loss that would be the only five-setter of the year for the Wahine and their last defeat of the regular season. Cubi-Otineru was the lone Hawaii player on the all-tournament team.

Sept. 10: vs. Weber State, won 3-0

Sept. 11: vs. Texas-San Antonio, won 3-0


Sept. 12: vs. No. 10 Stanford, won 3-0

No. 6 Hawaii swept through the Advertiser Challenge without dropping a set, including picking up the program's 1,000th victory with a 27-25, 25-21, 25-22 win over 10th-ranked Stanford. Danielson put down 13 kills en route to her second MOP award as the Wahine ending a two-match skid against the Cardinal. Joining Danielson on the all-tournament team were Mafua and senior middle Amber Kaufman.

Sept. 18: vs. No. 25 Pepperdine, won 3-0

Sept. 19: vs. No. 25 Pepperdine, won 3-0

Sept. 24: vs. Boise State, won 3-0

Sept. 26: vs. Idaho, won 3-0

Oct. 1: at Louisiana Tech, won 3-0

Oct. 3: at New Mexico State, won 3-0

Oct. 8: vs. Nevada, won 3-0

Oct. 9: vs. San Jose State, won 3-0


Oct. 17: vs. New Mexico State, won 3-1

As a season-high 9,293 fans watched at the Stan Sheriff Center, Dave Shoji became just the second coach in Division I women's volleyball to win 1,000 matches via a 25-13, 22-25, 25-21, 25-8 victory over New Mexico State. The third-ranked Wahine dropped their first set in seven WAC matches, one of just three sets Hawaii lost during conference play. Danielson finished with a double-double (15 kills,12 digs) and Cubi-Otineru added 15 kills and four aces. Shoji received the game ball, a plaque, a flat-screen television and a proclamation from Gov. Linda Lingle: “;Coach Dave Shoji 1,000th Win Day.”;

Oct. 19: vs. Louisiana Tech, won 3-0

Oct. 20: vs. Brigham Young-Hawaii, won 3-0

Oct. 29: at Fresno State, won 3-1

Oct. 31: at Nevada, won 3-0

Nov. 2: at San Jose State, 3-0

Nov. 6: Fresno State, 3-0

Nov. 8: Utah State, 3-0

Nov. 12: at Boise State, 3-0

Nov. 14: at Idaho, 3-0


Nov. 16: at Utah State, won 3-1

Danielson put down a career-high 32 kills, hitting .455, to lift visiting Hawaii to a 25-19, 22-25, 25-19, 25-13 victory over Utah State in Logan, Utah. The win capped a perfect 16-0 WAC season, the Wahine's 10th undefeated WAC campaign—first since 2005—and 12th unbeaten conference season overall. It was the 14th straight WAC regular-season title as well, with Hawaii finishing with a season-high 54 kills. Cubi-Otineru added her third double-double of the year, with a career-high-tying 22 kills and 11 digs, hitting .462.

WAC tournament at Las Vegas

Nov. 24: def. Fresno State 3-0


Nov. 25: def. New Mexico State 3-0

Behind MOP Danielson's 14 kills and 10 by Cubi-Otineru, No. 3 Hawaii won its 10th WAC tournament championship, sweeping New Mexico State 25-12, 25-17, 25-23, at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas. Cubi-Otineru and Mafua were also named all-tournament, capping a week that saw the Wahine dominate the all-WAC awards. Danielson was named the WAC Player of the Year, continuing Hawaii's string of POY awards dating back to 1996, the Wahine's first year in the league. Every Hawaii starter earned all-WAC honors: Cubi-Otineru, Danielson, Kaufman and Mafua on the first team; freshman middle Brittany Hewitt, junior libero Elizabeth Ka'aihue and Ferrell on the second team. Hewitt, nationally ranked in blocks all season, was named Freshman of the Year and Shoji Coach of the Year.

NCAA subregional at Los Angeles

Dec. 4: def. New Mexico, 3-0

Dec. 5: def. No. 15 USC 3-1

NCAA regional at Stanford, California


Dec. 11: def. No. 8 Illinois 3-1

In the regional semifinal, Ferrell had a career-high 19 kills, hitting .412, Danielson had a match-high 21 kills, and Cubi-Otineru became the second Wahine to record 1,000 kills when playing only three seasons as 12th-seeded Hawaii rallied to eliminate fifth-seeded Illinois 21-25, 25-10, 27-25, 25-16. It was only the third time Hawaii had dropped Set 1 but the first time the Wahine went on to win; the other two matches was a 3-1 loss to Texas and a 3-2 loss to Cal. Cubi-Otineru became the 16th Wahine in program history to reach 1,000 career kills. The other to do it in three seasons was Teee Williams (1987-89). Hawaii won despite the absence of Kaufman, who left towards the end of Set 1 with a strained abdominal.


Dec. 12: def. No. 16 Michigan 3-0

Behind a pro-Hawaii crowd in the final at Maples Pavilion, the Wahine swept their 24th opponent of the season and extended their win streak to 28 when downing Michigan 25-23, 25-19, 25-18. It was the ninth time Hawaii won a regional final, the first since 2003. After putting down 11 kills against the Wolverines, Danielson was named the regional MOP. Cubi-Otineru, Ferrell and Mafua joined her on the all-tournament team.Kaufman returned to put down eight kills, hitting .636.

NCAA national semifinal at Tampa, Fla.


Dec. 17: lost to No. 1 Penn State 3-1

Hours after Shoji was named the national coach of the year, Hawaii's 28-match winning streak came to an end in the national semifinal against top-ranked Penn State, 23-25, 25-18, 25-15, 25-18.

Danielson, named a first team All-American the day before, had 14 kills and 11 digs at the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa, Fla. Cubi-Otineru, a third-team All-American, added 10 kills and 11 digs in her final match. Also finishing with her sixth double-double was Mafua (44 assists-17 digs). Hawaii had a season-high 75 digs, led by Ka'aihue's 18, but was outblocked 15-0. It was the fourth third-place finish for Hawaii in the final four. The Wahine won their last title in 1987, and finished second to Texas (1988) and Stanford (1996) in their last two national final appearances.