- Rainbow Wahine advance to second round
Rainbow Wahine advance to second round
By The Garden Island
The No. 7 University of Hawai`i Rainbow Wahine volleyball team (26-6) swept through the Texas State Bobcats (17-15) 30-25, 30-18 and 30-23 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament at Gregory Gym on the campus of University of Texas Friday. In the match, Ashley Watanabe broke the UH single-season digs record.
Watanabe had nine digs in the match to push her season-total to 442, five digs more that Teee Williams’ total of 437 in 1988.
Victoria Prince led the way for Hawai`i, posting 12 kills, seven blocks and a .667 hitting percentage. Juliana Sanders hit .583 with eight kills and three blocks while Jamie Houston had a team-high 13 kills. Kanoe Kamana`o had 42 assists and four blocks while setting Hawai`i to a .356 hitting percentage. Tara Hittle had eight kills and nine digs while Susie Boogaard led all players with 15 digs.
The Bobcats gave UH fits at the start of the first game, taking a 7-5 edge early. Hawai`i came back with a 5-1 run, capped by back-to-back kills by Prince, making it 10-8. The Rainbow Wahine got their advantage to 13-9, forcing a Bobcat timeout. Texas State came out of the break inspired, going on a four-point run to tie it at 13. Texas State eventually got the lead back at 18-17, prompting UH to make their final run, taking seven of the next nine points to go up 24-20. The Bobcats never really got back into it as a kill by Prince closed game one 30-25. Watanabe recorded five digs in the first game, giving her the record after just one game.
Hawai`i started the second game on fire as Prince served a six-point run to put the Rainbow Wahine up 7-1. An ace by Kamana`o made it 9-2 before the Bobcats put up three-straight to get it back to 9-5. UH got the offense going in the second game, hitting .455 as a team with 18 kills, including a big kill by Houston that ended game two 30-18.
Dave Shoji changed the lineup a little in the third game, starting Sarah Mason on the left with Hittle playing at libero. It took the Rainbow Wahine a little while to adjust, allowing a 5-2 start by the Bobcats. But a time-out helped UH gain their composure, as they scored three-points out of the timeout to tie it at 5-5. The game saw four more ties before UH ran off seven of the next eight points, giving Hawai`i a 20-13 advantage. Texas State would not be able to get back into it, as an ace by Kamana`o got it to 28-21 before Mason put away her fourth kill of the game for the match-winner, giving UH the 30-23 game three victory.
UH will next face the winner of the Louisiana State/Texas match in the NCAA Second Round at Gregory Gym tonight at 6:30 p.m. on K5.