UH volleyball wins 21st in row
Third-ranked Hawai'i ran its volleyball winning streak to 21 last night, cruising to a 25-12, 25-15, 25-21 win over Idaho in front of 578 at Memorial Gym in Moscow.
The Rainbow Wahine (25-2, 15-0) clinched their 14th consecutive Western Athletic Conference regular-season title a week ago. They will attempt to go unbeaten in the WAC regular season for the 10th time — but first since 2005 — tomorrow at Utah State.
The loss clinched third place for Idaho (14-14, 10-5) behind New Mexico State. There are only three teams above .500 in the WAC.
UH senior Aneli Cubi-Otineru started the blowout, drilling eight kills in 11 swings in the opening set. The 'Bows hit .556 in that set, against the nation's best blocking team. Idaho hit .000.
"We got off to a really good start and deflated them early," said UH coach Dave Shoji, whose team did the same thing against the Vandals in Hawai'i six weeks ago. "We served tough off the bat, got a big lead in Game 1, and after that they kind of lost their spirit. It is the second- or third-best team in the conference, but we managed to frustrate them."
Cubi-Otineru finished with a match-high 16 kills and hit .375, adding three aces. Sophomore Stephanie Ferrell contributed nine kills and setter Dani Mafua was 5-for-6, helping UH to .340 hitting.
Freshman Brittany Hewitt, who missed Thursday's win at Boise State because of illness, started and had five kills, hitting .455. Libero Liz Ka'aihue contributed 17 digs and two aces, contributing to Idaho's .079 hitting percentage.
Of all the Vandals, the 'Bows might have frustrated senior Sarah Conwell most. She came in with double-doubles in her last eight matches, but hit zero last night, with seven kills and as many errors. The three-time WAC Player of the Week had seven digs.
"I think we bother her because we take away her favorite shots," Shoji said. "When she got it by the block we played pretty good defense. We took her seam shot away. That's what you are supposed to do against their best player and it's the second time we've done it."
Tomorrow's match from Utah State will be broadcast live on ESPN 1420 AM, beginning at 4 p.m. Hawai'i time. The Rainbow Wahine return home Tuesday, then fly out again Saturday for the WAC Tournament in Las Vegas. They are the No. 1 seed.