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Hawaii upsets No. 1 Texas in women's volleyball

Rainbow Wahine knock off defending NCAA champions

By Cindy Luis

LAST UPDATED: 01:08 a.m. HST, Aug 31, 2013

Everything may be bigger in Texas but it was Hawaii that came up bigger tonight at the Stan Sheriff Center.

In a huge season-opening match for both the 11th-ranked Rainbow Wahine and the top-ranked Longhorns, Hawaii served notice to the rest of the country when knocking off the defending NCAA champions, 25-19, 19-25, 27-25, 25-16. 

Senior All-American hitter Emily Hartong put down 18 kills and junior middle Kalei Adolpho added 11 kills and was in on seven of the team's 10 blocks in the second match of the Chevron Rainbow Wahine Invitational.  

Hartong also became the 17th Wahine to reach the 1,000-kill plateau in program history, doing so when tying Set 4 at 2-2. She now has 1,0005. 

"It's obviously early but it is an amazing win for our program," said Wahine coach Dave Shoji, now three victories away from becoming the all-.time winningest coach in the sport "We kind of went away from the game plan (in Set 2) but regrouped to win Set 3, which was key. 

"We probably shocked a lot of people tonight."

Freshman hitter Nikki Taylor was impressive in her Hawaii debut, with 10 kills, hitting .500 with one error, and was in on six blocks.

A turnstile crowd of 8,639 -- the largest since 7,670 against USC in the NCAA regional semifinal -- saw Texas lose its season-opener on the road since 2007 when playing at Penn State. Senior All-American hitter Bailey Webster led the Longhorns with 19 kills and junior All-American hitter Haley Eckerman added 11.

Hawaii out-blocked Texas 10-8 and won the dig war 47-45. Wahine senior libero Ali Longo had a match-high 17 digs. Longhorn senior libero Sarah Palmer, a graduate of Hawaii Baptist, had 11.

In the opening match, San Diego turned back UTEP, 25-14, 22-25, 25-23, 25-20.

Texas plays UTEP at 11 a.m. Saturday followed by a 6 p.m. match with San Diego. Hawaii concludes the rare tripleheader against UTEP, a scheduled 8:30 p.m start.

The tournament concludes with Sunday's 5 p.m. match between Hawaii and San Diego. 

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Mei mei wrote:
thanks Cindy!
on August 30,2013 | 10:37PM
kiragirl wrote:
The better coach won tonight. As to the players, no change in performance except Adolpho improved in her quickness. The core is Longo, Hartong and Uiato. Jade's eye-hand coordination is terrible. Freshman Taylor got a bunch of potential. Wow! The team looked like they were in mid season form. Go Bows!
on August 30,2013 | 11:15PM
niimi wrote:
JANE WHO? What a tremendous win for Hawaii. Texas was clearly the bigger, more physical team. However, Hawaii has decent height, and seemed to play more athletically--faster. Hawaii won at the net, and their defense was clearly scrappier than Texas. Uiato set an outstanding match. I was amazed at the depth of Hawaii's rotation. Adolpho played bigger than she has all her career. Kalei may be the most improved from last year's team. Both teams struggled with their serve tonight.
on August 30,2013 | 11:19PM
jkjones wrote:
Cindy made comment in pre-season practices about Adolpho's improved quickness. She was correct. Kalei looked awesome in the middle. Not only her foot-speed on the pull-out but also the speed in her arm swing and D anticipation to the ball at the net. Her game has improved in all facets. Breakout year for the former Moloka'i prepster? You bet. Walk-on Sarah Mendoza is a pleasant surprise--a kool, controlled player that and will add valuable depth to the wahine back row rotation. I cant recall another frosh in the Wahine's storied history that made such a huge splash in her first match as a true frosh Nikki Taylor did last night. Wow! Great victory for Dave Shoji, his staff, the wahine players and the great fans of Hawai'i...unprecedented first match Victory! Jane Croson? Who dat?
on August 30,2013 | 11:57PM
krusha wrote:
Great win against a great team. With Nikki playing so well against the best team in the nation, she pretty much is the missing link on this team that will lead them to the final four this year. Can't wait to see how they do against UCLA next week which is probably the biggest thing left standing in their way other than the Arizona game from an undefeated regular season.
on August 31,2013 | 02:14AM
donamach wrote:
look -- with tears of joy , I see RAINBOWS ---GO BOWS!!!
on August 31,2013 | 03:08AM
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