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Wahine cruise past Spartans

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  • FL MORRIS / FMORRIS@STARADVERTISER.COM
    Brittany Hewitt had six kills against San Jose State last night.

San Jose State’s year of redemption took a rest last night as fourth-ranked Hawaii needed just 80 minutes to win its first home volleyball match in three weeks, 25-16, 25-12, 25-15.

A Stan Sheriff Center crowd of 5,520 watched the Rainbow Wahine (15-1, 5-0) stretch their Western Athletic Conference winning streak to 30 — best in the country.

The Spartans (8-13, 3-5) have lost to Hawaii the last 39 times the teams have played, a streak that goes back to 1993. But SJSU, which won just once last season, has been skid-busting all season.

It won at Utah State for the first time since 1995, when the teams were in the Big West. Its five-set victory over Idaho ended an 18-match WAC losing streak. It is a very different, and much more diverse team than last year, when it was forced to use 5-foot-3 back-row specialist Kristal Tsukano — a Kamehameha graduate — as a hitter.

"They’ve got some nice young players that take a good cut at the ball," said UH coach Dave Shoji. "They run the middle enough to keep you honest, and the setter (Caitlin Andrade) does a nice job."

But the Spartans’ Hawaii futility lives on.

The most surprising element early was watching half the visiting team sing "Hawaii Pono’i."

The Spartans started junior Brianna Amian, a Moanalua High School graduate, and former Kamehameha teammates Caitlin Andrade and Alex Akana, who were both on last year’s WAC all-freshman team. A fourth Hawaii player, senior transfer Leilani Marple (La Pietra), came in to stabilize the passing.

When the serving started, everything went as expected. Hawaii scored in bunches, bursting to a 19-8 advantage before SJSU finally blocked Kanani Danielson, who already had five of her match-high 15 kills.

"Tonight the set distribution was more like how we need it," Shoji said. "Kanani needs to get x amount of sets and I thought the distribution was pretty much how it needed to be.

"Our middles are enough of a threat that we don’t have to set them all the time, but we need to set them some of the time. I thought it was better. We’ve been working on that distribution."

In the second set, the Wahine weathered an early Spartans storm and charged back behind their serving (four aces) and block (five stuffs). Emily Maeda served six straight to put UH up 16-8 and Dani Mafua scored five in a row moments later.

Still, San Jose showed signs of why it is right in the WAC race, which, for now, starts far behind Hawaii. SJSU coach Oscar Crespo said the difference in his team is the intangibles.

"It’s their attitude and the effort level they are putting out in the gym every day in practice," he said. "Their belief they can be successful and can control their success."

The final set opened with Brittany Hewitt’s first hitting error since Sept. 24. She made up for it later by blasting a ball off Katie Turner’s neck. By then, it was another blowout as the Wahine brought in Alexis Forsythe, Kaela Goodman, Alex Griffiths, Kristiana Tuaniga and Mita Uiato.

Shoji had no complaints and his players just sounded happy to be home, and looked it on the floor. They practice harder than they had to play last night, and it shows.

"I think our mentality this year is a lot stronger," said senior tri-captain Elizabeth Ka’aihue, who collected 14 digs. "We’re more focused. Our team handles business better. We’re not taking anybody lightly, especially in the WAC.

"Anybody can lose to anybody on any given night. We’ve seen that in sports throughout … Alabama in football losing. We have to worry about ourselves, not really the other side."

Hawaii hit .383 to San Jose’s .036. UH finished with 10 blocks — seven from Hewitt — and Chanteal Satele had eight kills. Hewitt and Emily Hartong had six kills apiece and Forsythe added two as the UH middle attack hit .444 to complement Danielson, who hit from everywhere.

"They are embracing the back-row attack very nicely," Crespo said. "Their threat level is great at the left side obviously, and I think Dani is moving the ball around very nicely."

Hawaii plays Fresno State tomorrow at 5 p.m., then heads back on the road for three matches.

 

¯¯¯¯¯

 

WAC STANDINGS

  W L Pct. GB All
Hawaii 5 0 1.000 15-1
New Mexico St. 5 1 .833 1/2 11-9
Nevada 4 2 .667 1 1/2 10-9
Idaho 5 3 .625 1 1/2 10-9
Boise State 3 4 .429 3 16-6
San Jose State 3 5 .375 3 1/2 8-13
Utah State 2 4 .333 3 1/2 14-5
Fresno State 2 4 .333 3 1/2 7-10
Louisiana Tech 0 6 .000 5 1/2 10-11

Yesterday
Hawaii def. San Jose State, 25-16, 25-12, 25-15
Nevada def. Utah State, 26-24, 22-25, 25-19, 25-16

Today
Idaho at New Mexico State
Boise State at Louisiana Tech

Tomorrow
Fresno State at Hawaii, 5 p.m., Stan Sheriff Center
Nevada at New Mexico State

 

No.4 HAWAII DEF. SAN JOSE STATE 25-16, 25-12, 25-15

SPARTANS (8-13, 3-5)
  s k e att pct d bs ba pts
Blume 3 6 5 22 .045 3 0 0 6
Amian 3 3 6 16 -.188 3 0 2 4
Miraldi 3 2 2 4 .000 0 0 2 3
Zellmer 3 0 1 1 -1.000 4 0 0 0
Akana 3 3 0 9 .333 0 0 1 3.5
Andrade 3 2 1 7 .143 3 0 0 2
Japhet 2 7 4 21 .143 0 0 1 7.5
Griest 2 1 2 3 -.333 0 1 0 2
McAtee 1 0 0 1 .000 0 0 0 0
Casino 3 0 0 0 .000 7 0 0 0
Turner 3 0 0 0 .000 9 0 0 1
Marple 1 0 0 0 .000 1 0 0 0  
Totals 3 24 21 84 .036 30 1 6 29

RAINBOW WAHINE (15-1, 5-0)

  s k e att pct d bs ba pts
Hewitt 3 6 1 15 .333 3 0 7 11.5
Danielson 3 15 3 31 .387 5 0 4 17
Mafua 3 2 0 2 1.000 5 0 2 3
Maeda 2 0 0 0 .000 4 0 0 0
Satele 3 8 2 16 .375 3 0 3 10.5
Hartong 2 6 1 10 .500 0 0 2 7
Waber 3 4 2 14 .143 2 0 1 5.5
Goodman 1 2 0 3 .667 0 0 0 2
Tuaniga 1 0 0 1 .000 0 0 0 0
Ka’aihue 3 0 0 0 .000 14 0 0 1
Griffiths 1 0 0 0 .000 0 0 0 0
Uiato 1 0 0 0 .000 0 0 0 0
Forsythe 1 2 0 2 1.000 0 0 1 2.5
Totals 3 45 9 94 .383 36 0 20 60

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 — SJSU (1): Turner. Hawaii (5): Hewitt 2, Satele, Waber, Ka’aihue. Service Errors — SJSU (2): Amian, Marple. Hawaii (7): Hewitt 2, Danielson, Mafua, Satele, Ka’aihue, Uiato. Assists — SJSU (23): Andrade 20, Zellmer, Akana, Casino. Hawaii (44): Mafua 34, Ka’aihue 4, Uiato 4, Maeda, Griffiths. T — 1:20. Officials — Barbara Silvey, Ernest Ho. A — 5,520.

 

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