UH volleyball sweeps in Boise
Boise State could do nothing to blunt the suddenly torrid Hawai'i volleyball attack last night as the seventh-ranked Rainbow Wahine ripped to a 25-15, 25-13, 25-17 sweep at Bronco Gym in Idaho. The Western Athletic Conference match was watched by 273.
It lasted just 70 minutes as the 'Bows (20-3, 13-1 WAC) out-hit the Broncos (7-17, 3-10) by nearly 300 points (.352-.056). It was Hawai'i's fourth straight .350-plus hitting performance. Senior Jamie Houston again set the pace, with 11 kills and .500-plus hitting (.556) for the fourth straight match.
"On the first ball she netted an overpass and she didn't have an error after that," UH coach Dave Shoji said of his third-team All-American, who has struggled with consistency. "She looks like a new player out there.
"It's her just maturing as a person and a player. She had a slow start, but everybody has been positive with her. She understands when she's playing bad and accepts the blame when it is her fault."
For the last four matches, Houston has been practically perfect and Aneli Cubi-Otineru also came close last night, gathering nine kills on .467 hitting. Freshman Kanani Danielson also had nine kills and made up for five hitting errors with 18 digs — just seven less than BSU.
Hawai'i never trailed in the first set, and rallied from small early deficits in the last two with huge streaks. The 'Bows scored 11 straight with Danielson serving in the second and nine in a row on Amber Kaufman's serve in the third. Kaufman finished with three of UH's seven aces.
The young Broncos never got their offense started, with sophomores Alisha King and Sadie Maughan leading the team with five kills apiece. They couldn't stop the 'Bows as UH setter Dani Mafua, who "tweaked" her ankle in Wednesday's practice, isolated all her hitters — again.
"She was sore, but able to play and pretty close to 100 percent," Shoji said. "I think she is emerging as a really good setter. It goes unnoticed because people see kills. She's not real flashy, but she's really getting the job done — making great decisions, great selection and putting very hittable balls up right now."
This three-match trip continues tomorrow at third-place Idaho and ends Monday at Fresno State. Both matches will be broadcast live on ESPN 1420 AM, beginning at 5 p.m. HST.
Hawai'i has now won at least 20 matches in 30 of its 35 seasons; it didn't play 20 the first three years.
UH senior Tara Hittle and San Jose State junior Kristal Tsukano, a Kamehameha graduate, were named to the College Sports Information Directors of America Academic All-District team. Hittle and Tsukano earned spots on the District VIII third team.
Hittle, from Colorado Springs, Colo., has a cumulative grade point average of 3.52 as an education major and has twice been named academic all-WAC. The 2004 WAC Freshman of the year moved from hitter to libero in her final season and ranks second for the seventh-ranked Rainbow Wahine in digs this season. She is fourth in career digs. Hittle plans to play for the Rainbow Wahine basketball team again after volleyball is over.
Tsukano, also a libero, has a 3.69 cumulative GPA in biological science and is also a two-time academic all-WAC selection. She leads the Spartans and ranks seventh in the WAC with 3.95 digs per set.