After breezing through the first two games, sixth-ranked Hawaii got to look at everybody, then looked back to All-American Kanani Danielson to finish off Louisiana Tech for a volleyball sweep, 25-17, 25-14, 25-23, at Louisiana Tech last night.
A Thomas Assembly Center crowd of 196 in Ruston, La., watched the Rainbow Wahine (14-1, 4-0) beat a Western Athletic Conference opponent for the 34th straight time. The streak goes back nearly two years.
UH has defeated the Techsters (9-8, 0-3) all 16 times the teams have played, dropping just one set. LaTech came close to making it two last night.
In the final set, Hawaii started Danielson, senior libero Elizabeth Ka’aihue and new faces at five other positions. It was out-hit .182 to .171 and needed starters to come in from the bullpen to hold on to the sweep.
"I’m a little disappointed that we couldn’t win easier," UH coach Dave Shoji said. "It wasn’t the fault of the people we put in. Our passing just went bad and we gave up too many points."
Freshman Kaela Goodman’s first two collegiate aces gave UH an early advantage (7-4) in that third set, but the Techsters pulled ahead 18-17.
Danielson tied it with her 12th kill and backup middle Alexis Forsythe put UH ahead to stay with another. Forsythe and setter Dani Mafua stuffed two balls — Forsythe was in on five of Hawaii’s nine blocks — and freshman Mita Uiato’s ace made it 22-18.
After a service error, Danielson got another kill. Freshman Emily Hartong put UH at match point at 24-21, but then was stuffed twice.
Hawaii called the only timeout of its first road trip and Danielson drilled match point.
"I got Dani back in and she had three pretty good options there," Shoji said. "Dani chose Kanani, which is always good by me."
The opening sets were not nearly as close. The Wahine broke away after the 15-point media timeout in Set 1, hitting .439. Danielson and Chanteal Satele had five kills apiece.
In the second, they held LaTech to .082 hitting with seven stuffs, and scored nine straight points on Emily Maeda’s serve.
Then Shoji took a look at his future. Forsythe and redshirt freshman Kristiana Tuaniga stood out in the middle.
"I told the team when I make those subs there is a reason," Shoji said. "I want those guys to get swings and time in case we need them in a situation. They have to play more, get game experience. Tonight we were fortunate we could get them some time. ‘TK’ (Tuaniga) hit the ball really hard and that was a good thing."
UH sophomore Brittany Hewitt, who leads the country in blocking, set a school record Wednesday by hitting .917 at New Mexico State. She came back with a .714 performance last night in two sets. For the trip, she was 16-for-19 without an error, an .842 percentage.
Ka’aihue also had an exceptional week, collecting 32 digs in the two sweeps — nearly 40 percent of the team total.
Hawaii has next week off. Its next match is Oct. 15 against San Jose State at Stan Sheriff Center.
|Boise State||2||1||.667||1 1/2||14-3|
|New Mexico St.||2||1||.667||1 1/2||8-8|
|Fresno State||1||2||.333||2 1/2||6-8|
|San Jose State||1||2||.333||2 1/2||6-10|
|Louisiana Tech||0||3||.000||3 1/2||9-7|
Hawaii def. Louisiana Tech, 25-17, 25-15, 25-23
Louisiana Tech at Grambling
Boise State at Idaho
San Jose State at Utah State
Fresno State at Nevada
Arizona at New Mexico State
No. 6 HAWAII DEF. LOUISIANA TECH 25-17, 25-14, 25-23
RAINBOW WAHINE (14-1, 4-0)
BULLDOGS (9-7, 0-3)
Key — s: games; k: kills; e: hitting errors; att: attempts; pct: hitting percentage; d: digs; bs: block solo; ba: block assists; pts: points (kills plus blocks plus aces)
Aces — LTU (4): Bin, Fritz, Pinto, Vido. Hawaii (6): Goodman 2, Uiato 2, Ka’aihue, Satele. Service Errors — LTU (4): Bin 2, Hunsucker, Vido. Hawaii (8): Forsythe 2, Hewitt, Ka’aihue, Maeda, Mafua, Satele, Uiato. Assists — LTU (25): Bin 24, Jones. Hawaii (41): Mafua 30, Uiato 7, Ka’aihue 2, Hartong, Maeda. T — 1:29. Officials — Ron Stahl, Chad Kluneki. A — 196.