Mafua, Danielson and Hewitt named to All-Region team
POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Dec 8, 2010
LAST UPDATED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Dec 8, 2010
University of Hawaii senior Dani Mafua, junior Kanani Danielson and sophomore Brittany Hewitt are 2010 All-America candidates after being selected to the American Volleyball Coaches Association Division I West All-Region team.
The eight 14-person all-region teams were announced yesterday by the AVCA and NCAA All-America committee.
Danielson is a two-time All-American, earning third-team honors as a freshman and first-team honors last season. UH is pushing her for national player of the year this season.
The 5-foot-10 Kamehameha graduate anchored the Rainbow Wahine attack. She ranks 10th nationally in kills (4.59 kills a set) and 11th in points (5.09). The two-time WAC player of the year led UH in aces, with 27, hit .301 and was second in digs to senior libero Elizabeth Ka'aihue, with 2.81. Danielson and Ka'aihue were also the team's primary passers.
"She makes everything look easy," UH coach Dave Shoji said. "Even her serve was much improved this season. It's hard to see a lot of improvement. She was so accomplished as a player coming in, but she's made strides in all her areas of strength."
This is Mafua's third all-region honor. The Mid-Pacific Institute graduate seized the setting position three years ago and finished fifth on the career assist list, after Kanoe Kamana'o, Martina Cincerova, Robyn Ah Mow and Cheri Boyer. She ranks 24th nationally in assists (11.19) this season and has Hawaii among the top 16 in hitting (.284) and kills (14.38).
Shoji attributes that to the exceptional location on her sets and her ability to run down passes and almost always give her hitters good opportunities.
"She gets to the ball," he said. "And the other parts of her game have progressed every year as well ... as a blocker, defender -- those things she's done a lot of work in the offseason to improve. Now she's a really, really good, all-around player and leader."
This is Hewitt's first national honor. While the 6-3 middle blocker transformed herself into a true offensive threat this season -- she went 11-for-12 in one match and hit .365 for the season -- her greatest attribute is defense. Hewitt, from Eagle, Idaho, leads the country with a blocking average of 1.68 and was in on 170 of Hawaii's 277 stuffs.
"Real simply," Shoji said, "she's over the net with great hand position and when the balls hits her hand it's going down. She's not a defensive blocker, she's a very offensive blocker."
New Mexico State setter Jennah DeVries and Utah State hitter Liz McArthur are also on the West Region team. Both are juniors. NMSU senior Kayleigh Giddens is honorable mention.
Seventh-ranked Hawaii's season ended Friday at 29-3 when it lost in the NCAA tournament's second round to 11th-ranked Washington in Seattle.