UH's Danielson headed to national tryouts
By Ann Miller
University of Hawai'i All-American Kanani Danielson is headed to USA Volleyball's annual open tryouts for the U.S. Women's National team and training programs.
The tryout is Feb. 19 to 21 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. Head coach Hugh McCutcheon will lead the evaluation process. Players with college eligibility remaining may be invited to participate on the USA Senior A2 team. That squad of 24 will train May 24 to June 2 in Phoenix and participate in the USA Open Championships.
Danielson, a 5-foot-10 hitter out of Kamehameha, was a first-team All-American this season and third-team last year as a freshman. She helped the Rainbow Wahine reach their first final four in six years, averaging five kills a set in the postseason.
Hawai'i ended the season ranked third at 32-3. Its season will be celebrated at the annual banquet, which will be a brunch Jan. 31 at Hale Koa Hotel, at 10:30 a.m.
The public is invited and deadline for reservations is this Sunday. Cost is $50, or $45 for Wahine Volleyball Booster Club members. For more information, call 257-8863 (Maggie) or 521-1456 (Stanley).
The Rainbow Wahine were seeded 12th in the NCAA Championship. They lost to Penn State in the national semifinals. The Nittany Lions went on to beat Texas and defend their NCAA championship.
Penn State, Texas and Hawai'i were 1-2-3 in the rankings for the final three months of the season. The fourth team in the finals was Minnesota. Hawai'i's enrollment is about 20,000. Penn State's is twice that and Minnesota and Texas boast enrollments of 50,000.
There are other, more subtle differences, between the 'Bows and their BCS opponents. The Nittany Lions charter planes for travel and talked about how tough it was to have to charter a smaller plane than usual for one trip, forcing them to stop and refuel. Not a problem UH will ever have to worry about.
"The bigger schools have more resources and are able to recruit better players," said Hawai'i's Dave Shoji, the national coach of the year. "But our kids don't know what they don't have. They know what they do have and they're happy."
Shoji will celebrate that at next week's banquet.
"I think our team provided a lot of excitement for the fans and the state," he said. "We always talk about wanting to go to the final four, but when you actually do it, it's a great accomplishment."