Wahine pass first road test with ease


POSTED: Friday, October 02, 2009

This morning's bus ride from Ruston, La., to the Monroe airport was pretty much a straight shot east on I-20, a simple, no-surprises drive of 35 minutes for the Hawaii volleyball team. It also pretty much mirrored the fourth-ranked Rainbow Wahine's performance last night against Louisiana Tech.


Led by Aneli Cubi-Otineru's 10 kills and an efficient .487 hitting attack, Hawaii (12-2, 3-0 Western Athletic Conference) needed just 78 minutes to win its first road match, 25-11, 25-18, 25-12, at the Thomas Assembly Center. It was the Rainbow Wahine's eighth consecutive victory — all in straight sets — and sets up an early showdown between the WAC's two undefeated teams tomorrow in Las Cruces, N.M.

New Mexico State (8-4, 3-0) also won via a sweep last night, topping visiting Nevada, 25-22, 25-21, 25-21. Hawaii will be the highest-ranked volleyball team ever to play in the Pan American Center.

“;I hope we play like it,”; Wahine coach Dave Shoji said of his team's No. 4 ranking. “;It was a good win for the first road game and everyone played pretty well.

“;We lost concentration for a little bit in the second and third (sets), but overall it was a pretty good effort. We hit well, the passing and hitting was going, and our serving was on.”;

The Wahine had 10 service aces, including a career-high three by sophomore hitter Kanani Danielson. Danielson hasn't been serving much this season — only 53 attempts before last night — and “;Yay, I got to serve,”; she said. “;And I got the green light to jump (serve) it, instead of just lollipopping it. I've been working on it.

“;I thought we did enough to win tonight. We fought back when we were down and focused. It was a nice win to start the trip.”;

The Wahine started off last night's match on a tear, jumping out to an 11-2 lead in Set 1, helped by Amber Kaufman's two aces and one by Cubi-Otineru. Hawaii had 11 kills with no hitting errors in its first 18 attempts; when Stephanie Ferrell netted her attempt, the Wahine were ahead 20-8.

Neither team had a block until Set 2, when the Lady Techsters stuffed Cubi-Otineru to pull within 8-3. Hawaii simply pulled away against a completely revamped LaTech lineup of all new starters, with Brittany Hewitt and Ferrell combining to reject Natasha Kolunija for the Wahine's first block and a 19-12 lead.

The Lady Techsters got as close as five, the last at 23-18 on a hitting error by Cat Fowler. Hawaii responded with a kill by Kaufman and a block of Samantha Crowder by Kaufman and Fowler for a 2-0 lead.

LaTech, which had only taken one set off Hawaii in 13 previous matches, made an early bid for a second when going out to a 4-2 lead. It didn't take much time for the Wahine — with two new starters on the court — to regroup.

Two kills by sophomore middle Lex Forsythe and Danielson's third ace put Hawaii ahead 6-4. The teams traded points with a kill by KC Clayton and a block of Cubi-Otineru tying it at 8.

A kill by Cubi-Otineru and her second ace put Hawaii ahead for good at 10-8. The Lady Techsters hung around until 17-12, only to have Cubi-Otineru's 10th kill jump-start an 8-0 closing run.

Senior Jayme Lee — starting Set 3 at libero — served for the final seven points, including two aces. Hawaii closed the match on consecutive blocks with Kaufman teaming with Fowler to set up match point, and Kaufman and Cubi-Otineru blocking Clayton to end it.

Kaufman finished with nine kills and no errors on 12 attempts.

“;She had a good night,”; Shoji said. “;They don't match up well with her.”;

Also having another error-less performance was Forsythe, perfect on all five attempts in Set 3. She has not had a hitting error since committing three in the five-set loss to Cal.

HAWAII DEF. LOUISIANA TECH 25-11, 25-18, 25-12
RAINBOW WAHINE (12-2, 3-0)

LADY TECHSTERS (11-8, 1-2)

Key — s: 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 — Hawaii (10): Danielson 3, Kaufman 2, Cubi-Otineru 2, Lee 2, Brandt. LaTech (3): Kolunija 2, Pinto.
Service errors — Hawaii (4): Danielson 2, Mafua, Cubi-Otineru. LaTech (4): Panova, Bin, Pinto, Fritz. Assists — Hawaii (74): Mafua 60, Danielson 4, Brandt 4, Lee 3, Ka'aihue 2, Cubi-Otineru. LaTech (80): Bin 39, Stanley 30, Panova 5, Jones 2, Hunsucker 2, Crowder, Alexander.
T — 1:18.
Officials — Carlos Rodriguez, Ron Stahl. A — 357.


New Mexico State301.0008-4
Fresno State11.5001 1/28-6
Nevada11.5001 1/25-10
Idaho11.5001 1/25-9
Louisiana Tech12.333211-8
Utah State12.33329-6
Boise State12.33321-12
San Jose State03.00030-13



Hawaii def. Louisiana Tech, 25-11, 25-18, 25-12

New Mexico State def. Nevada, 25-22, 25-21, 25-21

Fresno State def. Boise State, 16-25, 19-25, 25-17, 25-21, 15-11

Utah State def. San Jose State, 25-18, 26-24, 25-14

Hawaii at New Mexico State, 3 p.m. Hawaii time
Nevada at Louisiana Tech
Boise State at Utah State
Fresno State at Idaho