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Some tasty treats available for the Wahine clientele

By Star-Advertiser staff

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 02:51 p.m. HST, Aug 26, 2012

Hawaii's menu choices this season run the gamut from 4-star dining to drive-ins (and some drive-throughs).

The starters include heavy Pac-12 pupu: No. 17 Cal, No. 5 Stanford and No. 1 and defending national champion UCLA over the first three weekends.

After a palate-pleasing taste of history with an alumnae sorbet, the Rainbow Wahine hit the road for tables set up by old and new chefs in the Big West. After 16 seasons in the Western Athletic Conference, Hawaii now will enjoy shorter in-flight services with all-California establishments but likely will continue the quick eat-and-run appearances when aiming for its first Big West championship since 1995. The food Pyramid has Long Beach State waiting at the top.

Dessert choices could include something home made for the first two rounds should the Wahine remain in the top 16 of the NCAA RPI. Regional cuisine has offerings from Cal, Nebraska, Purdue and Texas, which will be decided by the NCAA kabbalah.

And Louisville? Topping it off with a 10th final-four appearance would be extra sweet for Hawaii.

HAWAII RAINBOW WAHINE

4 starters back
1 Hall of Fame coach
4 national titles (3 NCAA, 1 AIAW)

The kitchen changes from the Western Athletic Conference again to the Big West, but not much will change for the Rainbow Wahine (31-2), who dominated both (WAC: 232-4, 16 titles; BWC 165-31, 5 titles). There's no substitutions for All-Americans Kanani Danielson and Brittany Hewitt, but the alternative recipe choice has 6-2 junior All-America honoree Emily Hartong moving to OH from MB with heavy doses of seasoned starters Jane Croson (5-11 So. OH) and Mita Uiato (5-8 Jr. S). Added spices include transfers (Alyssa Longo (5-6 Jr. L, Penn State), Ashley Kastl (6-0 Jr. OH, Arizona State) and Stephanie Hagins (6-4 So. MB, WashingtonState). Ono!

 

ALBANY GREAT DANES

HOME: AUG. 24

6 America East titles in eight years
3 returning starters
1 Kalaheo product in Gabby Whitworth (Sr. MB/RS)

The Great Danes (21-9) will need some extra ingredients if they hope to three-peat in the America East. The biggest losses were four-time AEC defensive player of the year Laurie Gonzalez (5.33 dpg) and senior middle Casey Wright (3.38 kps, 0.80 bps). In the mix at setter for coach MJ Engstrom is 6-1 sophomore transfer Sofia Furlong, a teammate of Wahine junior transfer Sarah Mendoza at Irvine Valley.

 

ST. MARY'S GAELS

HOME: AUG. 25

7 returning starters
2 returning All-West Coast first-teamers
2 transfers

The Gaels (17-12) have lots of seasoning, with everyone back from a senior-less team that won its last seven. Among the returnees are junior hitter Jordan Shaw, daughter of former Stanford coach Don, and senior setter Missy White, who set a school single-season record with 45 aces. Adding to the mix are two junior transfer hitters: Kristina Graven from Cal Poly SLO and Danica Mendivil, teammate of Wahine transfer Ashley Kastl at Arizona State.

 

STANFORD CARDINALS

HOME: AUG. 26

6 returning starters
2 All-Americans

The No. 6 Cardinal (22-8) feature the nation's top-ranked freshman class, with two 6-2 middles for new AVCA Hall of Fame inductee John Dunning, one of two coaches to win NCAA titles at two schools (Stanford and Pacific). Junior All-America middle Carly Wopat anchored the No. 1 blocking team in the Pac-12, but she and the Cardinal are still coping with the loss of Wopat's twin, hitter Samantha, who died in March.

 

SAN FRANCISCO DONS

HOME: AUG. 31

4 starters
2 international freshmen
1 former Warrior (assistant Eyal Zimet)

The Dons (16-13) return 11 players and 90 percent of their offense, including 5-10 All-West Coast pick Malina Terrell (2.14 kps) and 6-4 sophomore middle Valentina Zalonznik (2.56 kps, 115 blocks). USF will see former starting setter Joan Caloiaro across the net playing for Cal on Sept. 1 in the Hawaiian Airlines Classic. Spring's 11-day European trek included a match with Pula, Croatia, hometown of sophomore Opp. Anja Segota, one of five foreigners on the roster.

 

BAYLOR BEARS

HOME: SEPT. 1

11 road matches in 23 days
7 freshmen
2 NCAA tourneys in 3 years

The Bears (18-15) open at home the first weekend, but are in Waco only once more until Sept. 25 vs. No. 2 Texas. Jim Barnes' ambitious preseason schedule puts his young team (13 freshmen and sophomores) out of the frying pan into the fire quickly. Adri Nora (6-3 sophomore MB/RS), a Big-12 all-freshman team pick, adds spice but likely not enough seasoning for the Bears to finish above .500 in the tough Big 12.

 

CALIFORNIA GOLDEN BEARS

HOME: SEPT. 2

5 returning starters
2 international freshmen
1 former Wahine setter (assistant Jen Carey)

The Golden Bears (26-7) enjoyed their first-ever No. 1 national ranking and were Cal's top varsity team in GPA (3.4) last season. Rich Feller lost assistant Sam Crosson to the head job at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo but saw a potential starting setter transfer across the Bay from USF in Joan Caloiaro. The right substitution for All-America hitter Tarah Murrey needs time to develop; 6-5 freshman Lara Vukasovic (France) and 6-0 Nikki Gombar (Italy) could be it.

 

SAN DIEGO STATE AZTECS

HOME: SEPT. 7

6 returning starters
1 former Wahine (Michelle Waber)
1 former UH All-American (coach Deitre Collins-Parker)

The Aztecs (18-10) have the ingredients to challenge Colarado State for the Mountain West title. Former Wahine great Deitre Collins-Parker returns all but one starter, led by AVCA honorable mention All-American Andrea Hannasch, a senior middle, and senior libero Kristi Jackels. Stirring things up are three transfers, including ex-Wahine hitter Michelle Waber. Senior setter Johnna Fouch has led the MWC in assists the past two seasons.

 

IDAHO VANDALS

HOME: SEPT. 8

2 All-WAC returnees
2 ranking in WAC preseason poll
1 player from below the 42nd parallel

With Hawaii out of the Western Athletic Conference batter, the Vandals (16-12) will challenge New Mexico State for the title. Idaho's top ingredient remains junior OH Allison Walker Baker, last year's WAC leader in kills (4.31 kps). Coach Debbie Buchanan's pride has been blocking, but the addition of defensive specialist Jenna Ellis, a two-time Idaho prep player of the year, should spice things up in the backcourt with solid passing.

 

UCLA BRUINS

HOME: SEPT. 9

1 ranking in AVCA preseason poll
1 former UH assistant (coach Mike Sealy)
1 former Wahine setter (Director of Volleyball Operations Cayley Thurlby)

Coming off their first NCAA title in 20 years, the Bruins (30-6) could cook up a repeat under reigning AVCA Coach of the Year Mike Sealy. UCLA brings in the fifth-ranked freshman class that includes 6-3 OH Maddy Klineman; 6-foot setter Becca Strehlow; and Punahou product Rachel Inouye, a 5-6 DS/L. Back is 6-3 All-American senior OH Rachael Kidder, (4.7 kps), the MOP of the NCAA final four.

 

RAINBOW WAHINE ALUMNAE

HOME: SEPT. 14

4 national titles
5 Big West titles
16 WAC titles

No matter what decade, the vintage Rainbow Wahine always layer on the skills and camaraderie on the court. All-Americans mix with players whose names are remembered by only the most faithful of fans. Heavy doses of pride are sprinkled with laughter and Bengay at the end of the alumnae vs. alumnae, with even more on the line when taking on the varsity youngsters. The afterparty traditionally continues long after the last whistle with sweetened memories.

 

CAL STATE NORTHRIDGE MATADORS

AWAY: SEPT. 19 / HOME: OCT. 12

7 returning starters
1 BWC Freshman of the Year (Casey Hinger)
1 'Iolani product (Mahina Haina)

The Matadors (16-13) look to build on their third-place conference finish with six returning starters, including BWC Freshman of the Year Casey Hinger, a 6-2 MB (2.57 kps, 177 blocks), and first-team picks Natalie Allen (6-1 Jr. Opp) and Sydney Gedryn (5-11 Jr. S). Junior hitter 5-11 Mahina Haina, also a first-team selection, led the team in kills (3.31 kps). The 16 wins were the most since 2004 for coach Jeff Stork, an 2012 AVCA Hall of Fame legends inductee.

 

UC RIVERSIDE HIGHLANDERS

AWAY: SEPT. 21 / HOME: NOV. 23

6 returning starters
2 All-Big West first teamers
1 player outside of California

The Highlanders (7-23), a former Division II power (3 national titles), have not risen since moving to Division I in 2001, never placing higher in the Big West than sixth. Former UC San Diego men's coach Ron Larsen was an assistant on the U.S. men's Olympic team that won gold in 2008. Six starters are back, including all-conference hitters Amanda Vialpando (3.87 kps) and Shelby LeDuff (3.23 kps), both seniors.

 

CAL STATE FULLERTON TITANS

AWAY: SEPT. 22 / HOME: NOV. 21

4 returning starters
2 All-Big West first-teamers
1 NCAA tournament appearance

The Titans (13-16) shook up Hawaii when rolling to a 25-14 Set 1 victory in the final regular-season match of last season (before losing 3-1). With all-time assist leader Andrea Ragan lost to graduation, CSUF's quick fix was to bring in senior Kaylynne Taeatafa from D-II Cal State Los Angeles. Senior all-conference hitter Torrie Brown is back after missing last year (knee injury) and senior MB/OH Kayla Neto is working on her fourth all-conference first team award.

 

UC IRVINE ANTEATERS

HOME: SEPT. 27 / AWAY: OCT. 27

2 A2 national team members
10 road matches in first 13
2 home courts (Bren, Crawford)

It's a silver frosting for the Anteaters (10-18), with coach Paula Weishoff returning from London with Olympic silver as the U.S. women's assistant. Also returning with added experience are senior libero Kristin Wilkler and junior hitter Aly Squires, teammates of Wahine Emily Hartong on the U.S. A2 team this summer. The biggest battle may be at setter, where junior transfer Mackenzi Campbell goes against 2011 backup Marissa Alvarez, a senior.

 

LONG BEACH STATE 49ERS

HOME: SEPT. 29 / AWAY: OCT 26

5 returning starters
3 NCAA titles
12 Big West titles

The 49ers (23-7) got off to a golden start last Saturday when three-time Olympic gold medalist in beach volleyball Misty May-Treanor set the alumnae team. Junior all-region Haleigh Hampton (6-6 MB) was third nationally in blocks (1.61 bps) in '11 but injured her shoulder last week and may miss the season. The heat will be turned up on high in a renewed rivalry against Hawaii as coach Brian Gimmillaro returns for his 28th year at The Beach.

 

CAL POLY SAN LUIS OBISPO MUSTANGS

AWAY: OCT. 5 / HOME: NOV. 3

1/4 returning offensive production
1 'Iolani product (Chelsea Hardin)
1 new coach (Sam Crosson, Cal)

The pantry needs restocking for the Mustangs (12-17), who lost 75 percent of their offense to injury (two-time All-America middle Jennifer Keddy), transfer (Kristina Graven, Saint Mary's) and graduation (Catie Smith). First-year coach Sam Crosson has six newcomers and 11 returnees, led by Megan McConnell (Sr. 6-1). Molly Pon (Sr. 6-0 OH) and Minnesota transfer Steffi Sooter (Jr. 5-9 L). 'Iolani graduate Chelsea Hardin (Sr. 6-0 RS) returns from injury.

 

UC SANTA BARBARA GAUCHOS

AWAY: OCT. 6 / HOME: NOV. 1

3 returning starters
1 Punahou product (Ali Santi)
1 Hall of Fame coach (Kathy Gregory)

Kathy Gregory is back for her 37th season behind the grill for the Gauchos (19-12). Three starters return augmented by six freshmen, including two 6-2 middles in Britton Taylor and Elizabeth Meddaugh. With the offseason loss of setter Hanna Nielson, Georgia Tech transfer Ali Santi (Punahou) will step in immediately to whisk things up. The Wahine hold two opponent records for kills (44, Teee Williams-Sanders and 34, rally score era, Kim Willoughby).

 

UC DAVIS AGGIES

AWAY: OCT 18 / HOME: NOV. 17

1 All-BWC first teamer
1 All-BWC freshman team
6 years at Division I

The Aggies (21-11) cooked up the most wins as a Division I program, briefly receiving votes in the AVCA Top 25. Set to run the offense again is junior Jenny Woolway, an All-BWC honorable mention. Two other starters return in all-freshman team pick Valerie Brain (So. 5-11 OH/MB) and All-BWC first teamer Allison Whitson (Sr. 6-1 OH). Jillian Johnson (Fr. 6-3 MB) and Kaylin Squyres (Fr. 6-1 MB) look to replace graduated team captain Betsy Sedlak.

 

PACIFIC TIGERS

AWAY: OCT 20 / HOME: NOV. 16

5 returning starters
1 former Wahine (assistant Aven Lee)
1 Kamehameha alum (Koala Matsuoka)

The Tigers (18-12) hope their final year in the Big West — off to the West Coast Conference next year — is a fluffly soufflé and not a flat one. The glory days of the 1980s (NCAA titles '85, '86) have remained on the back burner. Greg Gibbons has five starters back, including Kamehameha product Koala Matsuoka (Sr. 5-2 L) and All-BWC pick Jennifer Sanders (Jr. 6-3 MB). It may be tough for UOP to rise above the predicted fourth-place BWC finish.

 

BRIGHAM YOUNG-HAWAII SEASIDERS

*NCAA II

HOME: NOV. 8

5 returning starters
3 all-PWC selections
10 national titles (2 NCAA DII, 8 NAIA)

The Seasiders (19-4) are mixing up another NCAA II postseason run with five starters back from the team that lost to No. 1 CSU San Bernardino in the west regional semis. NAIA Hall of Famer Wilfred Navalta could concoct an 11th with all-region picks Michelle Chen (5-7 So. S), Stella Chen (5-10 So. OH) and Lauren Hagemeyer (6-1 Sr. MB) back and Fresno State transfer Michelle Peters Tevaga (5-9 Sr. OH) adding depth.

 

NCAA TOURNAMENT

64 teams
4 regional hosts (Cal, Nebraska, Purdue, Texas)
1 final four (Louisville)

Of the 329 colleges offering D-I women's volleyball, only a half-cup make it to the dessert course. Just a half-tablespoon will make it to Louisville, home to the Kentucky Derby and Louisville Slugger bat factory and museum.

Hawaii has missed dessert just once since establishing the program in 1974, an injury-plagues 1992. The Wahine are 72-27 in NCAA tournament play, 8-6 in nine final fours with three titles, two runner-up finishes and four third-places (all four after 1999).






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