Third-ranked Hawaii is a win from clinching the top seed at the Western Athletic Conference volleyball tournament after last night’s 25-20, 25-18, 25-22 victory at Fresno State.
The Rainbow Wahine (24-1, 13-0 WAC) can capture their 15th regular-season title in 15 seasons as a WAC member tomorrow at San Jose State. Hawaii, which has won its last 19, is also trying to sweep its way through the conference season for the first time. UH has won 50 straight sets and is four from the school record.
UH coach Dave Shoji was unimpressed with all that, and his team’s focus and hitting, last night before a crowd of 1,183 at Save Mart Center in Fresno, Calif.
"Our pregame practice this afternoon was too loose," he said. "There wasn’t good concentration and it carried over to the game. I feel fortunate to win tonight. We were not at our best, but we managed to survive and make plays when we had to."
The Bulldogs (11-15, 5-9) dropped to seventh behind Boise State. The top six teams qualify for the WAC tournament.
Fresno State, now 0-49 against the Wahine, was playing for its postseason life and it showed. It was tenacious, down just two late in the first two sets before Hawaii pulled away. FSU was ahead 16-14 in the final set until UH went on a 7-1 run.
The Wahine’s ability to close could be traced directly to All-American Kanani Danielson. She had a nightmarish start, hitting negative .500 and without a kill in her first six swings. Danielson finished with a match-high 16 kills on .308 hitting.
"She had a slow start," Shoji said, "but she’s probably the reason we won the match."
Hawaii takes a national-best 38-match conference winning streak to San Jose, which is eighth in the WAC. The Spartans (8-19, 3-10) have not beaten UH since 1993. The match begins at 11 a.m. Hawaii time and will be broadcast live on KKEA, 1420-AM
The Wahine end this trip at Nevada on Sunday (4 p.m. Hawaii time) and play Idaho in their final home match Thursday.
WAC VOLLEYBALL STANDINGS
|New Mexico State||11||2||.846||1 1/2||17-10|
|Boise State||6||8||.428||7 1/2||19-11|
|Fresno State||5||9||.357||8 1/2||11-15|
|San Jose State||3||10||.231||9 1/2||8-19|
No. 3 Hawaii def. Fresno State, 25-20, 25-18, 25-22
Boise State def. Louisiana Tech, 27-25, 25-12 ,25-11
New Mexico State def. Idaho 20-25, 25-23, 25-20, 25-21
Nevada at Utah State
Hawaii at San Jose State, 11 a.m. Hawaii time
Louisiana Tech at Idaho
New Mexico State at Boise State
Hawaii at Nevada, 4 p.m. Hawaii time
HAWAII DEF. FRESNO STATE 25-20, 25-18, 25-22
Rainbow Wahine (24-1, 13-0 WAC)
Bulldogs (11-15, 5-9 WAC)
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 — Hawaii (2): Mafua, Ka’aihue. Fresno State (3): Wild, Agraz, Van Grouw. Service Errors — Hawaii (6): Hewitt, Mafua, Maeda, Satele, Hartong, Ka’aihue. Fresno State (5): Van Grouw 2, Agraz, Berger, Parker. Assists — Hawaii (40): Mafua 37, Maeda, Satele, Uiato. Fresno State (37): Van Grouw 34, Mason 3. T — 1:35. Officials — Ray Mink, Bob McCarthy. A — 1,183.