Wahine won’t
be distracted

A No. 1 ranking won’t derail
their title hopes, Shoji says

By Grace Wen

Hawaii coach Dave Shoji said yesterday that being ranked No. 1 in the nation is not going to alter his team's mindset toward this week's showdown with No. 4 Stanford.

"We just know we're in for a battle. It's going to be a great college volleyball match," Shoji said. "I don't think it's changed the way we approach any game. It won't change our approach this week. Win or lose, we try to ... stay in our routine no matter what.

"It's very flattering, but we just can't get caught up in the fact. We need to continue to work. If we do, good things will happen at the end."

The fourth-ranked Cardinal (21-3) will play here on Sunday in a sold-out match at the Stan Sheriff Center. It is their first official appearance since 1999. Last spring, Hawaii met Stanford in an exhibition that the Wahine won in four games.

Hawaii (21-0) made its ascent to No. 1 in the AVCA coaches poll after then-No. 6 Stanford knocked off then-No.1 and unbeaten USC in a close five-game match on Saturday.

It is the first time in two years that the Rainbow Wahine are No. 1 in any poll. During the 2000 season, Hawaii occupied the top spot of the Volleyball magazine poll for six weeks (Oct. 16-Nov. 13).

The Rainbow Wahine's last appearance on top of the AVCA poll was in 1996. Hawaii began the preseason ranked first and held that spot through Oct. 28 until a midseason loss to Stanford lowered them in the poll.

"You never like to be No. 1 without having proven it," Shoji said. "The No. 1 team will be standing on Dec. 21. Hopefully, we'll be there. You just can't put too much importance on being voted No. 1 now."

His players agree.

"We've been No. 1 before, but it doesn't mean anything until the end of the season," senior Jennifer Carey said. "Maybe (it matters) seeding-wise, but down the stretch you're going to play good teams no matter what seed you are. It doesn't faze us anymore."

The Wahine were ranked fourth in the preseason coaches poll. They moved up to No. 2 in the Sept. 16 poll after the defending national champion Cardinal lost to Florida.

Notes: This Sunday's match is the 11th volleyball sellout at the arena since its doors opened in 1994. Two of the prior 10 sellouts were against Stanford (1996, 1999). The Wahine are 7-3 in sold-out matches and 0-2 in sold-out contests vs. Stanford. ... Hawaii- born Logan Tom, an outside hitter for the Cardinal, was named the Pac-10 player of the week. ... Volleyball magazine didn't release a poll this week.

UH Athletics

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