on No. 2 UW
The Wahine face a third Pac-10
team in as many weeks
Not that there's a rivalry ... Not!
At least one Hawaii player can't wait for this week's chances to beat a former Pac-10 rival. Rainbow Wahine junior Sarah Mason, a transfer from Oregon, never came close to defeating Washington in her two years with the Ducks.
"Nope, not even close," said Mason, whose Oregon team was swept in all four meetings with UW in her two years in Eugene. "They're really tough, all the way around, very balanced, very disciplined, very systematic.
"Personally, they've been one of the toughest teams I've ever played against, held me to my lowest hitting percentage. They put up a double block on you ... They're just a tough team."
The No. 2 Huskies' schedule has been anything but tough. Washington (7-0) is 21-0 in games in sweeping the likes of Gardner-Webb and North Dakota State.
Conversely, Hawaii (5-3) has already played five matches against teams ranked in the top 10, including two victories over then-No. 7 USC and then-No. 10 UCLA. The Wahine face their third Pac-10 team in as many weeks in hosting the Huskies on Friday at 7 p.m. and Saturday at 6 p.m.
"I definitely like our schedule better," said senior middle Victoria Prince, who played two seasons at Washington State (2002-03). "We've seen this kind of team already, a final-four-caliber team. Nothing they do should surprise us, as long as we make sure we're ready.
"They haven't played a team like us all season. And they have a lot more to lose than we do."
There's more at stake for Mason, less than a year removed from the Pac-10. In the past two weeks, she's already enjoyed her first wins over UCLA and USC, although she had to change uniforms to do it.
"It is more of a revenge factor for me than it is for Victoria," Mason said.
Prince, who grew up about 140 miles from the WSU campus, said it was more personal.
"In my family, you're either a Cougar fan or a Husky fan, there is no in-between," she said. "There's Cougar in me deep down, growing up there, but I'm a Wahine.
"Sarah hasn't had a full season with us. After this year, she'll be a Wahine through and through like I am."