Dave Shoji’s record-tying victory will have to wait for at least another four days. Courtesy of San Diego, the Hawaiii women’s volleyball coach remained at 1, 105 wins — one behind all-time leader Andy Banachowski — after the unranked Toreros surprised the 11th-ranked Rainbow Wahine in the finale of the Chevron Rainbow Wahine Invitational at the Stan Sheriff Center.
Led by junior hitter Sandra Lozic’s 22 kills and 25 digs by senior libero C’era Oliveira, USD (2-1, 2-1 CRWI) pulled out a 15-25, 26-24, 25-19, 23-25, 15-11 win. A turnstile crowd of 5,554 (7,049) watched for 2 hours and 42 minutes as the Toreros defeated the Wahine for the first time in four meetings; the last time also went five in the 2010 season-opener for both..
The Wahine (2-1, 2-1) were led by All-American senior hitter Emily Hartong’s 30 kills. Sophomore hitter Jade Vorster added 10 kills with just one error, hitting .450, and senior libero Ali Longo had 25 of Hawaii’s 77 digs.
Based on set-differential, the Wahine won the three-day event, which included Friday’s big win over No. 1 Texas. The Toreros nearly upset the Longhorns (2-1, 2-1) as well but fell short in five Saturday.
USD out blocked Hawaii 13-6, with senior middle Chloe Ferrari in on seven. The Toreros’ balanced attack saw three other players with double-figure kills: junior hitter Alaysia Brown (14), senior middle Katie Hoekman (13) and Ferrari (11).
Hartong was named the tournament MVP. She was joined by Wahine setter Mita Uiato; Hoekman and Oliveira of USD; senior hitter Bailey Webster and junior middle Khat Bell from Texas; and UTEP’s senior middle Xitali Herrera.
In a portend of things to come, Hawaii was called for having an incorrect lineup out on the court after Hartong put down a kill to open Set 5. The point was awarded to USD.
“We had the lineup we wanted on the card we turned in,” said Wahine coach Dave Shoji, “But the wrong player went out on the court. I take responsibility. Ultimately, it is on me.”
Shoji argued to no avail that the official scorer had “signed off” on the lineup, that the point should stand and play continue since the set had officially begun. He was overruled by the down official, giving the Toreros the 1-0 lead.
USD broke away from a 3-3 tie on kills from Hoekman and Lozic to take the lead for good.The closest the Wahine would come would be 9-8 when freshman hitter Nikki Taylor and junior middle Kalei Adolpho teamed to block USD senior hitter Taylor Hollins. But the Toreros answered with three consecutive points in pulling away for one of the biggest wins in its program history.
Hawaii was without sophomore hitter Tai Manu-Olevao, who sat out the match in accordance to her religious beliefs.
Next up for the Wahine is the Hawaiian Airlines Classic. UCLA opens the three-day event on Thursday against Santa Clara while Hawaii takes on former Western Athletic Conference rival New Mexico State.