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Taylor, Shoji earn Big West’s top awards

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    Hawaii’s Nikki Taylor was named Big West Player of the Year.

Just as Hawaii dominated Big West volleyball play this season, the Rainbow Wahine dominated the conference’s annual awards that were announced today.

Senior opposite Nikki Taylor repeated as Player of the Year, and Dave Shoji was named Coach of the Year for the second consecutive year and third time in four seasons.

Hawaii (22-5, 15-1 Big West) had five players named to the 16-member first team. Joining Taylor were senior hitter Annie Mitchem, junior middle Emily Maglio, junior libero Savanah Kahakai and freshman setter Norene Iosia.

Iosia also was named to the eight-member all-freshman of the year. Freshman of the Year honors went to UC Santa Barbara hitter Lindsey Ruddins.

It was the fourth first-team selection for Taylor and the second in a row for Maglio. Since re-joining the Big West in 2012, a Wahine has earned Player of the Year honors four of five seasons, twice by Taylor and Emily Hartong (2012-13).

Hawaii also had the Player of the Year in the Big West in 1987 (Suzanne Eagye), 1988-89 (Teee Williams), 1990 (Karrie Trieschman) and 1995 (Angela Ljungquist). Shoji also earned the honor in 1987-88, 1995 and 2012; he had eight awards when the Wahine competed in the Western Athletic Conference (1996-2011).

Also today, Hawaii moved up five places to 23 in the NCAA Women’s Volleyball Ratings Percentage Index. The Wahine open play in the NCAA Tournament on Friday against USC (18-13) in Minneapolis.

The Wahine moved up a spot to No. 12 in today’s AVCA Coaches Top 25 poll.

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  • I concur with Shoji being named Coach of the Year in the Big West Conference. He did his best coaching this year what with all the injuries he had to deal with and making adjustments of players being in different positions but the one game that highlighted Shoji’s coaching ability was the Wahines v. Arizona game in non-conference …with the Wahines down 0-2, they made the adjustments after halftime and won 3-2 and the surprise was having Iosia setting beautifully and Ross playing Opp. Hitter and making crucial hits not only in the last 3 games but esp. in the 5th game……this with Nikki and Anne still out…there were games like the Long Beach State game when Hawaii played them the second time around and had his team so well prepared that it was the fastest game Hawaii played in the sweep of Long Beach and everything Long Beach did, Hawaii was there waiting as they technically made all the right moves in their preparation of that game…..It wasn’t an easy season for Shoji but he did a beautiful job in coaching his team to the conference title and, as big a critic as I was of Shoji, trust me, he deserved this honor and all of the naysayers that criticize Shoji should just tape their mouth and move on……When you think what Shoji has accomplished in bringing this team national recognition, every year you can count on Shoji and the Wahines being a force to be reckoned with in the conference and nationally and taking his team to the NCAA’s……no other coach in the UH athletic dept. come close to what Shoji has accomplished…..nothing more and nothing less.

    • You were a critic? Actually, I totally agree he’s the greatest coach in UH history, regardless of the sports. But, please, don’t give me no carp about him being above criticism. He surrounded himself with self serving “inner circle” worshippers, was highly questionable in how he handled Taylor’s injury, and played favorites with certain players. No one is perfect, not even me (although I’m darn close to being so).

      • How has Shoji played favorites as he had to make adjustments and is there everyday and can analyze and evaluate the players in practice more than you can watching in the comfort of your home sitting on your arse make critical comments…he inserted Iosia as a starter making the move despite Taylor Higgins leading the team to the Regional Finals in the NCAA last season, he moved Anne to outside hitter, he brought in Ross in the Arizona game as an opp. hitter, and he certainly wasn’t responsible for Taylor’s injury as if you followed my comments in Aug.-Sept. you know it was his Asst. Jeff Hall when during the scrimmage he had Higgins set her over 50 times…50x…….WHY in the world did he set her that much….?? just like in Football, you have your top rated QB in a red jersey during scrimmage as he is a non-persona meaning “you no touch him” well, we alredy knew what Nikki could do so why in the world did he play her in that scrimmage much less set her 50 damm times…when Shoji returned, he had Nikki given Mondays days off and she had to be in the rehab room and not participate in scrimmages…I am sure Shoji talked to Jeff about Nikki and moving Anne to outside hitter played an imp. role in keeping Nikki fresh in the game… an outsider and lay person, Oxtail 101, i respect your opinion despite the fact that you have your facts and observations all wrong….cheers!!

  • Taylor deserves all the accolades coming her way. The Master deserves the longevity award and being the best of the worst in a pathetically weak conference with no other teams ranked even close to being respectable.

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