UH makes short work of Stanford


POSTED: Sunday, September 13, 2009

When they play their game, they win.

That's what the Hawaii players have been telling themselves.

There was magic in that mantra last night.

Getting 13 kills each from tournament most outstanding player Kanani Danielson and all-tourney pick Amber Kaufman, the sixth-ranked Rainbow Wahine swept No. 10 Stanford 27-25, 25-21, 25-22 at the Stan Sheriff Center to win the Honolulu Advertiser Volleyball Challenge.

It was the program's 1,000th victory and, in some respects, one of the biggest. Before last night's win, Hawaii had gone 1-9 against Stanford dating back to 1991; the Cardinal's dominance began the night after the Wahine last won in straight sets.

“;It's been a while,”; Wahine coach Dave Shoji said. “;Even though it's not the same team as last year's (when Stanford won in the regional final), it means our kids are right up there with all the other really good teams. It means we have the capability to hang with just about anyone.

“;We beat two Pac-10 teams out of three. We're feeling confident and we'll take this and build on it.”;

The turnstile crowd of 6,338 saw Hawaii improve its record to 7-2 with its second tournament title out of the three to open the season. Stanford, getting 14 kills from Janet Okogbaa and 11 from Alix Klineman, dropped to 5-3.

Few teams will hit .314 for the night and lose, especially in three. As good as Stanford's hitting was, Hawaii's was better (.392, including .500 for Set 1).

“;When you look at the stats, there's not a huge amount of difference,”; Cardinal coach John Dunning said. “;They served better, they passed better. The first game, we had a chance to win and didn't.”;

The key was when Hawaii pulled out a dramatic Set 1 victory after trailing 22-21. Brittany Hewitt put down one of her three kills to tie it at 22 and—after four more ties—Hewitt put down a service overpass on the Wahine's third set point.

“;Winning that first game was huge,”; Shoji said. “;Stanford was playing extremely well. We got behind early and it was, oh my gosh, this is tough. But then we made some plays.”;

The magic continued for Hawaii in Set 2 behind the power of Danielson (six kills) and Kaufman (four kills, an ace). The Wahine rallied from a 9-6 deficit to take an 11-10 lead, with setter Dani Mafua spreading the offense perfectly and keeping the Cardinal block off balance.

Hayley Spelman tied it at 11-11, but a kill by Kaufman and her ace jump-started a 3-0 run that put Hawaii ahead for good at 14-11. The Wahine led by as many as five before the Cardinal pulled to 23-21.

Danielson put down two monster kills to send Hawaii into the locker room with a 2-0 lead. UH came back out and took a quick 4-0 lead.

Hawaii never trailed, fending off every Stanford challenge. Kaufman did not have a hitting error until her last swing, when she was blocked by Jessica Walker, pulling the Cardinal to 23-21.

All Hawaii had to do was side-out and “;I didn't start thinking sweep until it was 24-22,”; Kaufman said. “;You can never count out a team like that. You hope you can stay with them and pull ahead.”;

Both Kaufman and Danielson credited Mafua for last night's success. They also pointed to the big night by freshman middle Brittany Hewitt (nine kills, five blocks) as a key.

“;Brittany was a wall out there,”; Danielson said. “;She was just there.”;

Shoji, who is at 991 wins, wasn't feeling secure until the match-point ball went down.

“;At 24-22, I was just hoping we didn't give up that next point,”; he said. “;Everyone starts wishing for that last point instead of earning it. But we earned it.”;

Stephanie Ferrell finished it off with her eighth kill.

Texas-San Antonio 3, Weber St. 1

The Roadrunners left on the red-eye flight on a winning note after holding off the Wildcats for third place, 25-22, 25-21, 20-25, 27-25.

Kendra Rowland had 11 kills and 11 digs, and Whitney Walls added 10 kills for UTSA (4-7). Chelsea Blair and Jenna Leggat each had 16 kills and Amy Fackrell added 10 for Weber State (1-9).

All-tournament team

Danielson (MOP), Kaufman and Mafua, Hawaii; Okogbaa, Gabi Ailes and Cassidy Lichtman, Stanford; and Rowland, UTSA.


NO. 6 HAWAII DEF. NO.10 STANFORD 27-25, 25-21, 25-22

Cardinal (5-3)
 skeatt pctdbsba 

Rainbow Wahine (7-2)
 skeatt pctdbsba

Key —g: games; k: kills; e: hitting errors; att: attempts; pct: hitting percentage; d: digs; bs: block solo; ba: block assists; pts: points (kills plus blocks plus aces)
Aces—Stanford (0). Hawaii (3): Cubi-Otineru 2, Kaufman. Assists—Stanford (44): Lichtman 24, Evans 18, Klineman 2. Hawaii (49): Mafua 47, Cubi-Otineru 2.
T—1:36. Officials—Dickson Chun, Dan Hironaka. A—6,338.