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Hawaii defeats USC in NCAA volleyball tournament opener


    Rainbow Wahine celebrate after defeating USC in the NCAA volleyball tournament opener.

Senior opposite Nikki Taylor put down 23 kills and junior middle Emily Maglio added a career-high 15 as Hawaii survived its NCAA volleyball tournament opening-round match today, turning back USC 25-22, 25-20, 22-25, 16-25, 15-13 in Minneapolis.

Hawaii (23-5), winning its 11th straight, will play top-ranked Minnesota (26-4) at 2 p.m. Saturday. The Golden Gophers swept North Dakota 25-21, 25-12, 25-20, in Friday’s second match to run their home-court winning streak to 14 this season and 20 dating back to 2014.

The Wahine have now advanced to the second round every season since 1998 and for the 34th time in 36 appearances.

Saturday’s match with Minnesota is a rematch of last year’s regional final, won by the Gophers 3-1.

Hawaii improved to 23-18 against the Women of Troy (18-14). Freshman hitter Khalia Lanier, daughter of NBA great Bob Lanier, led USC with 26 kills.

Senior hitter Annie Mitchem had 12 kills and sophomore hitter McKenna Granato had 11, earning her third double-double with 11 digs. Junior libero Savanah Kahakai finished with 19 of the team’s 76 digs.

USC senior libero Taylor Whittingham had 32 of her team’s 89 digs.

Hawaii won the block war 13-12, with Taylor and Maglio in on six each. Freshman setter Norene Iosia turned in her 13th double-double with 46 assists and 10 digs.

Maglio had no hitting errors in 31 swings, hitting .484.

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    • Getting past that first game, esp. against USC, a Pac 12 team, was imp. to eliminate the nervousness and jitters that go in playing a 1st round game esp. a team like USC which was on a roll in their last 5-6 conference games.
      I think they will be more relax and focus when they play Minnesota tomorrow and what ever mistakes were made today, Granato included, will be eliminated and the team will be more confident in their game tomorrow.
      The dunk shots and service errors can be rectified as they have done in previous conference games. Believe me, they will be more relax tomorrow and today they showed their potential in winning against a team like USC esp. in 5 sets…….I personally don’t think Minnesota is better or tougher than USC. THEY CAN DO IT AND WILL DO IT!!!! If Hawaii does win tomorrow, then Shoji will definitely have a great birthday present on Sunday……..they did a great job in preparing for USC …………no question about it.

    • Like last year’s tournament, probably better for UH to have a difficult 1st round game since what doesn’t kill you only make you stronger. I would have been more concerned if they just cake walked through USC instead. USC was a battle hardened team with a tough strength of schedule, so they would have given any opponent a tough time no matter who they faced. Their last 3 games all went five sets against tough teams.

  • I tried to find an avenue to at least listen to the game but came out with zilch. Surprised ESPN isn’t televising the tournament on espn/espn2/espn3.

      • Oxtail01, mahalo for pointing that out to those who missed it. Cigaripo, mahalo for tomorrow’s time slot. Saves us the trouble of looking it up. As Lisa Strand Ma’a observed, Annie wasn’t playing her game today. I think we’re going to see her back to her old self tomorrow, minus the opening game jitters. I liked the way Na Wahine kept their poise from start to finish. Talk about grace under fire. Mags had her game face on, and it kept everyone calm. No panic. No fear. Jus’ believin’. She played tough throughout. No let up. I think she psyched out the Trojans’ front row. This Wahine has ice water in her veins. If we can play our game tomorrow, we’ll have the Gophers reeling. I don’t think Minnesota has a clue what they’re up against when Na Wahine are in their rhythm. Go Bows!

    • OCSports will be streaming again. (they did tonight). get link at and click on the tv in the banner announcing the UH v Mn game — will take you to “Hawaii all access” site. btw if you don’t live in Hawaii live streaming is free

  • Passing. Passing. Passing. Terrible in the last three sets. USC was serving to the weak links. At least Shoji did good by replacing them in the 5th set. Maglio and Taylor were the only offense. Good luck tomorrow. Go Bows!

  • Hopefully, in the 3rd and 4th sets it was just the adrenaline wearing off and the jetlag kicking in.
    Minnesota swept so they’ll be well rested.

  • Hopefully they’ll play better tomorrow against Minnesota. But, if they play like how they did in the 3rd and 4th sets, it’ll be a repeat of last year. Was hoping they would’ve swept USC and got some rest, but… Good Luck tomorrow, Na Wahine…

  • Survive and advance. These two teams were mirror image of each other. It was frustrating to watch when gareen kills were being dig by that USC backrow.

  • Right now the Rainbow Wahines have nothing to lose but everything to gain. This I say because of the NCAA’;s RPI rating s. Beat Minnesota today and Nebraska will shudder. In fact the Women’s Volleyball world will shake! Go Rainbow Wahines!!!

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