Wahine roll over Billikens


POSTED: Friday, September 04, 2009

As good as advertised?

Perhaps even better.

The Hawaii volleyball coaching staff scouted from the Stan Sheriff Center end line last night, watching as No. 2 Texas already looked to be in postseason form. The Longhorns shredded No. 10 Cal's block with a diverse and effective offense, and stuffed the Golden Bears with a suffocating block of their own in the opener of the 22nd Hawaiian Airlines Classic.

The scary part about Texas' 21-25, 25-20, 25-16, 25-13 victory? It may not be the same lineup the fourth-ranked Rainbow Wahine see when facing the Longhorns tomorrow night.

“;The difficult thing about this team is we don't have a set lineup,”; Texas coach Jerritt Elliott. “;The players are making it tough on the coaches to make a decision, but they've said it doesn't matter who's on the court. They just want to win.”;

The only sure thing is that someone's undefeated season will end tomorrow. Hawaii (4-0) set up a battle of the unbeatens courtesy of a 25-21, 25-23, 19-25, 25-15 win over No. 19 Saint Louis.

A crowd of 4,048 watched as sophomore hitter Kanani Danielson put down 19 kills—six in the final set—and senior Aneli Cubi-Otineru added 16. It lasted 1 hour and 55 minutes.

It was anything but easy.

Hawaii's letdown came in Set 3 when Saint Louis got off to leads of 11-7 and 17-11. The Wahine closed to within 18-15 only to have the Billikens respond with a 3-0 run.

Sammi McCloud had two of her 15 kills to close it out and send it to a fourth set.

Hawaii answered in a big way, behind the serving of senior reserve setter Stephanie Brandt. She had two aces and Danielson two kills during a 7-0 run to pull away to an 11-2 lead.

The margin increased to 19-8 and then 24-13, with Alexis Forsythe ending a long rally with her only kill of the match to set up aloha ball. Hawaii took two swings at it before Stephanie Ferrell ended it on the third, putting down her ninth kill.

“;Saint Louis is a very good team,”; Hawaii coach Dave Shoji said. “;They don't run a conventional offense and it was just difficult to line up.

“;I didn't expect us to be high emotionally after last week, with the short turnaround. I just wanted us to have more of an even match. There were too many ups and downs.”;

Shoji credited Brandt for picking up the team.

“;We weren't in Game 3 and I felt we needed a quick start in Game 4 to get our confidence back,”; he said. “;They had the momentum and we had to get it back.

“;Brandt was terrific tonight, played her role. She served tough, played great defense. She picks everyone up when she's out on the court.”;

Brandt finished with three of Hawaii's five aces and added seven digs.

Bridget Fonke led Saint Louis (2-2) with 18 kills.

Hawaii won the blocking war 11.5-6, led by Amber Kaufman's seven. Four Wahine were in double-digit digs, headed by Cubi-Otineru's 13.


Texas 3, Cal 1

The Longhorns (3-0) decided to go with one setter instead of two against the Golden Bears (2-2), and senior Ashley Engle made a very convincing argument for it to stay that way.

The 6-foot-3, left-handed Engle had 12 kills with no errors in 20 attempts to go along with 32 assists. NCAA high jump champion Destinee Hooker had a match-high 17 kills and Juliann Faucett added 15 for the Longhorns.

Hana Cutura had 16 kills and Tarah Murrey 12 for the Golden Bears.

“;She's pretty darn good,”; Cal coach Rich Feller said of Engle, who's also played opposite. “;She's a big girl who can attack. Not your typical setter.

“;I didn't know what to expect. Their two outside hitters (Hooker and Faucett) hammered the living daylights out of the ball. And it's pretty significant if your setter can be that offensive.”;

Texas outblocked Cal 20-10, with Bailey Webster in on eight and Rachael Adams seven for the Longhorns. Texas also got a strong effort from sophomore defensive specialist Sydney Yogi (Punahou '08), who had seven digs.

“;Sydney's our best defender and she's getting better and better,”; Elliott said. “;That's another neck-and-neck for the libero jersey.”;


Hawaii def. Saint Louis

25-21, 25-23, 19-25, 25-15




































































































































































Billikens (2-2)



Rainbow Wahine (4-0)

Key—g: games; k: kills; e: hitting errors; att: attempts; pct: hitting percentage; d: digs; bs: block solo; ba: block assists.

Aces—Saint Louis (1): McCloud. Hawaii (5): Brandt 3; Cubi-Otineru 2. Assists—Saint Louis (47): Roth 37; McCloud 4; Boken 2; Blaha 2; Deno; Behrens. Hawaii (55): Mafua 51, Ka'aihue 2, Cubi-Otineru.
T—1:55. A—4,048.