Wahine look to rebound on the road after upset


POSTED: Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The aftershock was fairly minor, at least on one curve of the Western Athletic Conference volleyball coaching circle. That New Mexico State was able to beat then-No. 6 Hawaii on Sunday wasn't a huge surprise.





No. 9 Hawaii (13-3, 6-1) at Utah State (6-12, 4-3), 3 p.m. tomorrow (Hawaii time), KKEA, 1420-AM


That it was a sweep AND at the Stan Sheriff Center was another matter.

“;New Mexico State has a very nice team,”; Utah State coach Grayson DuBose said. “;The only surprise was that it came in three.

“;The perception of our league and the reality of our league are two different things. The perception is our league isn't as good as others. The reality is it is just as good. The coaching is good, the players are good. You have to be prepared every night if you want to win.”;


Dave Shoji:
Rainbow Wahine
coach looking to
get team back on
track tomorrow at
Utah State

DuBose's team proved that the last time his Aggies met the Rainbow Wahine. In 2 hours, Utah State erased 12 years of frustration by Western Athletic Conference teams by beating UH 30-28, 31-29, 30-27 last Nov. 11.

It was historic on several fronts, none good for the Wahine. Hawaii lost to an unranked WAC team for the first time in 12 conference seasons; lost to a WAC team at home for the first time in 98 matches; and lost a home conference match for the first time since falling to UC Santa Barbara in 1994 Big West play, a streak of 108.

Utah State (6-12, 4-3) has a chance to add to its history tomorrow. Hawaii, 175-4 in WAC regular-season play, has never lost consecutive WAC matches nor more than one WAC match during the regular season.

“;Hawaii competes at such a high level,”; DuBose said. “;We've been watching films and, gosh, they have so many weapons.

“;We'll take a whack at it. We'll need to serve tough and do well on serve-receive. For us, it's not about controlling what they do, but control what we do on our side of the net. They're more physical than we are. We need to serve well and play defense.”;


Grayson Dubose:
His Aggies beat the
Rainbow Wahine
here last season

In WAC serving statistics, the Aggies (1.36 aces per set) are second only to the Wahine (1.41). Individually, senior Melissa Osterloh (0.37) ranks behind UH junior Amber Kaufman (0.53).

Setter Chelsea Fowles, the WAC Freshman of the Year last season, is averaging 9.60 assists per set. Sophomore libero Christine Morrill (3.82 digs per set) has had double-digit digs in six of her last seven matches.

Utah State dropped its first eight matches while dealing with several injuries. The skid ended with a 3-2 upset of then-No. 15 Purdue.

The Aggies have gone 5-4 since, including a split last week. Utah State lost in four at Idaho, currently sitting in third in the WAC, then swept host Boise State.

The Aggies are 3-3 at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum, which seats 10,270, but averages under 600 fans per match. DuBose expects the season's best crowd tomorrow because “;Hawaii always travels well,”; he said.

That's in terms of fans. The Wahine have had their problems at Utah State, needing five to win in 2004 when ranked No. 1, and going five again in 2005.

One key for Hawaii, given the strain of travel, is to stay disciplined when tired.

“;That is what New Mexico State was able to do,”; Wahine coach Dave Shoji said. “;They were disciplined. The longer the rally went, the more undisciplined we became.

“;Utah State's system will put pressure on our defense. We have to be ready.”;