Rainbow Wahine
remain winless

For the second straight day,
Hawaii is swept at the NACWAA
Showcase, this time by Penn State

OMAHA, Neb. » This was supposed to be a coming-of-age showing, a proving ground for a Hawaii volleyball team that thought it was a final-four contender last season and -- even more so -- this season.


vs. USC, Thursday

Instead, the Rainbow Wahine learned the hard way that the training wheels need to stay on a little while longer. That for now, two matches into the season, they are pretenders.

And they will be nowhere near their No. 4 ranking when this week's poll comes out. Not after being swept in both matches of the AVCA/NACWAA Showcase here at the Qwest Center.

Last night's 30-27, 30-26, 30-18 shellacking at the hands of No. 5 Penn State in the consolation match "exposed our every weakness, every part of our game," Hawaii coach Dave Shoji said. "We'll learn a lot by this. We need to go back into the practice gym, get better at some of these skills.

"Against Nebraska (Friday), I thought we were overmatched physically. Tonight, I felt like we got outplayed. It's hard to say which is more disappointing. I certainly didn't expect us to play like we did."

Neither did the Hawaii players, most of whom have now lost twice as many matches as they did all of last year. The 0-2 Wahine take a three-match losing skid -- their first since losing the last match of 2000 and the first two of 2001 -- into next week's 18th Hawaiian Airlines Classic at the Stan Sheriff Center.

Hawaii will see No. 7 Southern California on Thursday, Penn State again on Friday and Western Michigan on Sunday. The Wahine, who were to return home this afternoon, know they have a lot to work on when they get back in the gym tomorrow.

"I know we'll have a lot more fun with the crowd behind us," junior setter Kanoe Kamana'o said. "To be back playing at home will be awesome.

"But for us not to have won a single game here ... that's going to be in the back of my mind. This experience is something to learn from, work on what we need to work on, and come back and excel."

Hawaii's 38-match home winning streak -- the longest in the nation -- will be tested. The Wahine cannot allow the little mistakes to turn into big ones nor allow opponents to make huge runs on them, such as the Nittany Lions did last night.

Hawaii led for most of Game 1, holding a 21-19 advantage, only to be outscored 11-6 down the stretch. It was 27-27 when PSU coach Russ Rose called a timeout; moments later, the teams were trading sides, with the Nittany Lions taking a 1-0 lead.

The Wahine roared back in Game 2 only to fade again late. Senior middle Victoria Prince used five of her 14 kills to stake the Wahine to a 19-12 lead.

At that point, Prince had amassed 11 kills, with no errors in 17 swings. Prince's 18th swing hit the tape, rolled along the net and out, for her first error; she would have only one attempt the rest of the game.

Shoji later admitted he hadn't put in the lineup he really wanted but, when he realized it, it was too late to change the lineup card. The mistake looked like it would work until the Nittany Lions began their surge with three kills from Nicole Fawcett to help cut the deficit to 20-17.

Penn State caught the Wahine at 24 and, after a Susie Boogaard kill gave UH what would be its last lead, the Nittany Lions closed it out with a 6-1 run to take a 2-0 lead.

Last season, Hawaii had rallied twice to win in five after being down 0-2. But this was not Nevada at the Sheriff Center, not a banged-up Utah State team that ran out of gas in Logan.

This was Penn State and senior All-American setter Sam Tortorello made sure there would be no Wahine comeback. She isolated the UH block, giving her hitters one-on-one opportunities they took advantage of.

Hawaii's tentative 6-5 lead turned into an 11-6 deficit as Fawcett again got hot, putting down four of her 13 kills. The Wahine would trail by as many as 12, including the final margin, as the Nittany Lion hit .529 for the game.

Not that Shoji conceded the match but he did have three freshmen -- Jamie Houston, Jessica Keefe and Nickie Thomas -- in the front row during several rotations in Game 3.

"I didn't feel like it would hurt to get in some of our freshmen," he said. "At some point in the third game, we knew it was over.

"I think that losing Game 1 had a lot to do with losing Game 2. In Game 2, I think the players were thinking, 'Oh, my gosh, we're in a position to win' and played a little tight. We've now lost six (games) straight and it's going to be a battle to win one. We need to bounce back and we will. If we can start playing better, winning will take care of itself."

Shoji didn't want to make excuses, but the Wahine were without two outside hitters they had planned to have on the court. Sophomore Tara Hittle has been sidelined since spraining her ankle Aug. 12 and junior Sarah Mason went down with an apparent ankle sprain midway through Friday's match.

"Without Hittle and Mason, it limits what we can do," Shoji said. "Jamie (Houston) will be a solid player in time, but she's not really ready to play all the time.

"Our ball-handling was a little suspect. Boogaard and (libero Ashley) Watanabe were outstanding on defense, but we had to go to a two-man passing rotation because we had people out there we weren't expecting we would need to pass. With the injuries, we had no control over that."

"I'm sensitive to the fact that this is a Hawaii team that was missing some key players," Rose said. "We know that we'll see a different Hawaii team next week in a totally different environment."

Prince finished with 14 kills to lead the Wahine, with Boogaard and Alicia Arnott putting down 10 apiece. Melissa Walbridge led the Nittany Lions in kills with 14, while Fawcett and Christa Harmotto added 13 each, and Kate Price 10.

Nebraska 3, Stanford 0

The host Huskers, playing in front of an event-record crowd of 10,576, swept the defending NCAA champion Cardinal 30-23, 31-29, 33-31 in an hour and 51 minutes.

Tournament MVP Chris Houghtelling and Jordan Larson led the Huskers (2-0) with 15 kills each. Sarah Pavan added 12 kills for Nebraska, which outblocked Stanford 14.5-7.

Kristin Richards led the Cardinal with 13 kills, followed by Cynthia Barboza (12), Foluke Akinradewo (12) and Franci Girard (10).

The match turned on Game 2, in which Nebraska was able to rally from an 18-13 deficit to pull it out.

Also named to the all-tournament team were Prince (Hawaii); Harmotto and Tortorello (Penn State), Barboza and Richards (Stanford) and Melissa Elmer (Nebraska).

The 11th-annual event drew a two-day attendance record of 20,604. The previous high was 16,292, set in 2003 when the tournament was held in Honolulu.

Aloha Saturday: Rose got into the aloha spirit last night, wearing a vintage blue Reyn Spooner aloha shirt. He later joked that he planned on buying more when he got to Honolulu tomorrow.

"I've been wearing these shirts since before (my players) were born," said Rose, in his 27th as Nittany Lions coach.

Rose is now 2-0 against Shoji. When asked if he "owned" the Hawaii coach, Rose replied, "If he wouldn't only come to State College, then maybe we could talk about it. But we can't get him to come. We do have an airport."

Rose and Penn State had not played Hawaii since the 1993 Hawaiian Airlines Classic. The teams will now face each other twice in seven days.

Quick sets: The only real highlight of Game 3 came when reserve setter Cayley Thurlby set Kamana'o for a kill, pulling the Wahine to 23-14. "That was not the play," Shoji said during the postmatch press conference. Both setters just smiled. ... Mason was to have her ankle X-rayed here yesterday, but it was decided to wait until she returned to Honolulu and have it done today. ... Kamana'o had 75 assists in the two matches, giving her 3,351. She is 18 away from moving ahead of Nikki Hubbert (3,368) as No. 5 on the school's career assist list.

Penn State def. Hawaii

30-27, 30-26, 30-18

Nittany Lions (1-1)

g k e att pct. bs ba d
Fawcett 3 13 3 28 .357 0 2 6
Walbridge 3 14 3 25 .440 0 3 2
Harmotto 3 13 2 23 .478 0 3 1
Tortorello 3 4 1 8 .375 1 4 8
Salyer 3 5 2 16 .188 0 0 1
Price 3 10 3 30 .233 0 0 7
Holehouse 2 0 0 0 .000 0 0 3
Brown 3 0 0 0 .000 0 0 8
Holloway 3 0 0 0 .000 0 0 2
Walters 3 0 0 1 .000 0 0 17
Totals 3 59 14 131 .344 1 12 55

Rainbow Wahine (0-2)

g k e att pct. bs ba d
Sanders 2 6 1 12 .417 0 2 1
Boogaard 3 10 3 29 .241 0 1 10
Arnott 3 10 6 26 .154 0 1 5
Houston 3 8 6 28 .071 1 2 1
Kamana'o 3 2 1 7 .143 0 1 7
Prince 3 14 2 24 .500 0 3 3
Gregory 1 0 0 1 .000 0 0 0
Keefe 1 0 0 1 .000 0 1 0
Thomas 1 0 2 5 -.400 0 1 0
Watanabe 3 0 0 1 .000 0 0 10
Thurlby 3 0 0 0 .000 0 0 10
Ong 3 0 0 0 .000 0 0 0
Totals 3 50 21 134 .216 1 12 47

Key -- g: games; k: kills; e: hitting errors; att: attempts; pct.: hitting percentage; bs: block solos; ba: block assists; d: digs.
Aces -- PSU (3): Walbridge 2, Brown. Hawaii (0). Assists -- PSU (56): Tortorello 47, Salyer 4, Price 3, Holehouse, Walters. Hawaii (46): Kamana'o 43, Boogaard 2, Watanabe.
T -- 1:39. Officials -- Joan Powell, Verna Klubnikin. A -- 10,576.

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