Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Wahine Begin Conference Play On the Road


Hawai`i will head for the central coast of California this weekend to kick off the 2016 Big West Conference season at UC Santa Barbara and Cal Poly.

Conference play is a whole different ball game for the Wahine who have yet to leave the friendly confines of their home court but over the years Hawai`i teams have been great road teams.

With the return of Annie Mitchem and Nikki Taylor head coach Dave Shoji will have a little less to worry about.

UCSB 9- 4 and Cal Poly 7- 4 are off the good starts but their schedules are suspect. The competition in the Big West this year is said to be a little tougher but Hawai`i is a big team with a deep bench and plenty of  power. Shoji has enough combinations that he can use that will be a big help if the need arises.

Match Info:

UCSB
Live Stats
Live Stream

Cal Poly
Live Stats
Live Stream

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Monday, September 19, 2016

Wahine Take Pepperdine Series 










Box Score Friday Box Score Saturday

With the exception of a couple of mental lapses Hawai`i  look very efficient in two wins over the Pepperdine Waves.

Hawai`i won Friday's match  29-27, 26-6, 25-18 which included a set one 29-27 thriller and a set two 25-6 spanking.

Hawai`i also won Saturday's match 25-14, 25-18, 23-25, 25-12. Performance wise it was a repeat of the Friday match with the exception of set three when the Wave snuck up on the Wahine who appeared to look too confident and were caught coasting. Head coach Dave Shoji had the best explanation for dropping this set- "we got on the bus too early".

Both matches saw the return of Annie Mitchem who missed the first 9 matches of the 2016 season recovering from a finger injury.

Mitchem replacing OH Kirsten Sibley gave Hawai`i experience, height and fire power on the left and it paid off. Mitchem ended the match with 10 kills and hit .320. on Friday and 11 kills on Saturday.

Hawai`i came out of this weekend with a new line-up that was very successful and now leaves Shoji having to make some tough choices about what usually becomes the official starting line-up for the Big West season.

OH Kirsten Sibley out for two matches due to illness appears ready to return.

Hawai`i will begin the conference season this weekend on the road at UCSB and Cal Poly.

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Friday, September 16, 2016

Wahine Face Pepperdine
Annie Mitchem returns.


Hawai`i will take on Pepperdine in a two-match series Friday, Sept. 16 and Saturday, Sept. 17. The Waves are 6-4 on the season and coming off of a 3-1 loss to UCLA. Hawai`i is 28-3 all-time against Pepperdine. Match Info:

Annie Mitchem will return to the lineup and expected to start on the left side replacing freshman Kirsten Sibley out with an undisclosed illness. This lineup will give the Wahine a lot of fire power in the front row but unless this turns out to be a lineup made in heaven one that has Final Four written all over it I expect to see Mitchem return to the middle position when Sibley is well or OH Kalei Greeley fully recovers.

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Monday, September 12, 2016


Outrigger Volleyball Challenge - Championship Match
Washington tops the Wahine in a 5 set thriller 

Box Score


Washington taking a page from the loss to UCLA dinked and tip the Wahine to death in a match that was a great opportunity for Hawai`i to improve their RPI and finally beat a ranked team which has eluded them so far this season.

The scores and the stats show a very close match but close only counts in horseshoes as that old saying goes. When it came down to push and shove the Huskies show the determination and confidence needed to win.

While Hawai`i got off to a slow start in set 1 they managed to claw their way back but not enough to pass the Huskies.

Hawai`i flipped things around in set 2 and evened the match with a 25-17 win.

Set 3 was the heartbreaker, the set that probably cost them the match. It was the set that saw the Wahine give back sizeable leads as much as 6 points at one point and in the end also give up 6 aloha balls to give the Huskies a 28-26 win for the set.

With confidence down to start set 4, the Wahine showed resiliency and eked out a 25-23 win  and take it to 5th set.

Unfortunately, the deal maker set was not to be for the Wahine. In another very close set, Washington came out the victor 15 -13.

All-Tournament Team
Lexi Thompson - Utah Valley
Mary-Grace Kelly - Northern Illinois
Nikki Taylor - Hawaii
Emily Maglio - Hawaii
Courtney Schwan - Washington
Tia Scambray - Washington
Crissy Jones - Washington (MVP)

Injury updates

Annie Mitchem did not return to the lineup in this match expected to have a pin removed from an injured finger this week, Nikkie Taylor reinjured her left elbow and appeared to be great pain, OH Kalei Greeley continued to be sluggish while still rehabbing a shoulder injury.



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Saturday, September 10, 2016

Outrigger Resorts Volleyball Challenge - Day 2
 Hawai`i over NIU 26-24, 25-15, 25-15


Photo Andrew Lee

Box Score 

On the second night of the Outrigger Resorts Volleyball Challenge, the Wahine came away with their 5th sweep of the season.

Set 1
For a match that was going to be an easy win, ( according to the OC 16 corner crew ), NIU gave Hawai`i fits in set 1 and half of set 2

Shoji started Freshman Norene Iosia at setter and Castillo in the middle. It was a fast start for the Wahine thanks to Casey Castillo's 5 kills but it was short lived. NIU served tough and out-blocked UH 5-2 in the set and UH had to rely on Nikki Taylor to get them back in the match.

Set 2
It was NIU's turn for a quick start. Coming off of a close set one loss there was a sense that UH was beatable and they went toe to toe with the Wahine to start the set.

At the 15-12 technical T.O. Hawai`i had worked their way back when the block returned and after the T.O Hawai`i continued to pull away when Nikki Taylor caught fire and NIU seemed to be out of energy.

Hawaii's left side hitters continued to have an off night and showed a lack of consistency but McKenna Granado was able to recover and contributed 9 kills, 2 aces and hit a respectable .238.

Freshman Kirsten Sibley could not get it going and ended the match with no kills in 5 attempts hitting -400. Shoji moved Kalei Greely, who is not 100 %, to the front row to replace Sibley.

Set 3
The Wahine jumped out to a fast start as they continued serving tough and NIU looked like they were totally out of steam.

The Huskies did go on a 4 point run due to unforced errors by the Wahine but they quickly ended the run to go on to win the set that ended with back to back aces by Kendra Koelsch.

Hawai`i will get the day off Saturday and will face #6 Washington on Sunday at 4pm HST.

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Friday, September 09, 2016

Outrigger Resorts Volleyball Challenge
Wahine Sweep Utah Valley
25-18, 25-11, 25-8

Photo: Andrew Lee

Box Score

Whether it was intentional or not Shoji wasn't showing all his cards to Washington coaches with the way he used different mixes of lineups in this match, lineups that started with Natasha Burns replacing Casey Castillo in the middle and Tayler Higgins starting at setter and ending with using 16 players in different configurations. Washington and Northern Illinois coaches had to have left the SSC wondering who will they actually see in their upcoming matches.

Utah Valley is a WAC team and a win wasn't expected but they have been a good defensive team and blocking was the one talent that they have and it showed in the stats out blocking the Wahine 8 to 3.

There were times in sets 1&2 where Hawai`i looked bored and sluggish and UVU stayed in close enough range that they could have caught the Wahine napping and taken a set.

Kirsten Sibley and McKenna Granato got back on track and showed us what they are capable of doing on the left but now need to show consistency Sibley had 11 kills and hit .529. Granato also contributed with 11 kills hitting .333.

Hawai`i middle hitters Maglio, Castillo and Burns combined for 16 kills with Maglio leading the group with 10 kills hitting .769

Hawai`i will take on Northern Illinois next at 7pm HST.

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Sunday, September 04, 2016

Hawaiian Airlines Volleyball Classic


Photo Andrew Lee





Wahine Sweep Missouri State
25-16, 25-22, 25-22


Box Score: 

Match 1 vs Missouri State of the Hawaiian Airlines Volleyball Classic saw the return of Nikki Taylor an All American Junior Opp hitter and the Big West Conference Player of the Year in 2015.

Taylor, returning from an elbow injury, went right to work and ended the night with 21 kills, 4 blocks, 2 aces with a .529 hitting percentage. She also picked up her 1,000th career kill.

The return of Taylor saw a whole different Wahine team who lost their first two matches of the season to Wisconsin and Kansas State but came from behind to beat Arizona in the last match of the Chevron Wahine Invitational last weekend.

With this win we witnessed some of what this team was expected to be in 2016 .The return of two time JC National Player of the Year and All American Annie Mitchem is expected later this month, hopefully by Sept 11th when Hawai'i will take on University of Washington, her return will bring the Wahine closer to full strength and hopefully we have seen the last of serious, fluke injuries for the rest of the season.

Freshman outside hitter Kirsten Sibley had a good match, she contributed 13 kills and freshman setter Norene Iosia scored her first double-double with 37 assists and 11 digs and spent most of the match faking out the Bears blockers and connecting with the open hitters. McKenna Granato, Emily Maglio, Savanah Kahakai, and Casey Castillo all made significant contributions in the win.

The Wahine out blocked the Bears 9 to 4

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Wahine Get 2nd Sweep.
Take out UOP 25-15, 25-18, 25-23


Box Score :

In Match 2 of the Hawaiian Airlines Volleyball Classic Nikki Taylor continued her reign of terror on the court with 22 kills and 14 digs, it was her second consecutive double-double while hitting a blistering .439. Taylor led the Wahine to their second sweep of the season along with Middle Emily Maglio who had 9 of the teams 11 blocks and 6 kills hitting.500

From the service line Hawai'i had 7 service aces 4 of which came from Nikki Taylor while UOP racked up 15 service errors compared to the Wahine's 5 .

On the need for improvement side Hawai'i left side hitters Kirsten Sibley and McKenna Granato were less efficient, Granato had 5 kills and Sibley had zero in 13 attempts and hit a minus - .308.

Hawai'i will return to the court Saturday to play UCLA for the Hawaiian Airlines Wahine Volleyball Classic Championship

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Wahine Swept by UCLA
25-23, 25-22, 25-22

Box Score:

It was Hawai`i vs UCLA for the Championship. It was the 74th meeting between UCLA and Hawai'i and the Bruins evened the series 37-37 with a sweep of the Wahine.

It was a close match indicated by the scores and stats. The Bruins performance was not all world either but it was Hawaii's hitting errors that plagued them all night that made the difference.

There was too much reliance on Nikki Taylor, middles did a good job but the Wahine needed more production from left side hitters that never materialized.

The one obvious missing ingredient is a left side terminator. While we have already seen what Sibley and Granato are capable of doing there has been no consistency from them.

Shoji teams have always been good at critiquing themselves and hopefully they will sort it all out.

All Tournament Team

Nikki Taylor - Hawaii - MVP
Norene Iosia - Hawaii
Emily Maglio - Hawaii
Jordan Anderson - UCLA
Jennie Frager - UCLA
Lily Johnson - Missouri State
Lexi Elman - Pacific

Next Up

Hawai`i will host the Outrigger Resorts Volleyball Challenge this weekend vs Utah Valley, Northern Illinois and Washington Info >

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Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Wahine Invitational Gives Hawai`i Something To Work On


Photo: UH Athletics 





Losing to # 4 Wisconsin doesn't really come as a shocker but a second loss to Kansas State on Saturday was. Minus two All Americans showed how much their absence shook up the mindset of this team. It left Dave Shoji, who was at the Olympics during the fall camp, searching for a line up that could make up for that loss.

While the performance of the team was sub par most of the weekend somewhere in the 5th set of Sunday's match against Arizona while down 2-8 they rediscovered themselves pulling out a comeback win that was reminiscent of so many Wahine teams of the past

It was a win in which sophomore outside hitter McKenna Granato, had 33 kills and hit .459. and four Wahine freshman who played a big role.
( Recap)

This was a win that was needed to rebuild their confidence now we wait to see if it is here to stay when they take on Missouri State, Pacific and UCLA this coming weekend (Sept. 1-3) in the Hawaiian Airlines Volleyball Classic (.Info >>)

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Thursday, August 25, 2016

Wahine Open 2016 Season Short Handed
Chevron Rainbow Wahine Invitational Aug. 26-28

Sixth ranked University of Hawai`i will open the 2016 season at home against 4th ranked University of Wisconsin on Friday Aug. 26 at 7 pm in the friendly confines of the Stan Sheriff Center but they will be minus some of their top players due to injuries.

Junior College All American and two time JC player of the Year Middle Hitter Annie Mitchem is recovering from surgery on her left pinkie finger, the same injury she suffered on her right hand in 2015.

All American Opposite Nikki Taylor will also miss matches this weekend due to an injury to her left elbow, the same injury she had on her right elbow .

OH Kalei Greeley is still  recovering from off season surgery on her shoulder and probably will see limited action according to Hawai`i coaches.

Head Coach Dave Shoji just returned from the Olympics and is facing some big line up problems that will need to be sorted out quickly.

While it seems like the Wahine have been snake bitten and some fans are singing the Chicken Little, the sky is falling song I feel differently. Losing before you actually play the game makes no sense to me and new stars are often born under these types of situations. We have some freshman and returning players waiting in the wings itching for their time to shine.

Chevron Rainbow Wahine Invitational Schedule
Friday, August 26
4:45 pm – Kansas State vs. Arizona
7:00 pm – Hawai'i vs. Wisconsin

Saturday, August 27
4:45 pm – Arizona vs. Wisconsin
7:00 pm – Hawai'i vs. Kansas State

Sunday, August 28
12:00 pm – Wisconsin vs. Kansas State
5:00 pm – Hawai'i vs. Arizona


Complete Game Notes >> 

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Sunday, August 21, 2016

Wahine Wrap Up Two A Day Practice Sessions 

Photo: Andrew Lee for UH Athletics


The 2016 Wahine ended two a day practice sessions with an inter - squad scrimmage that had mixed results.

With several key players nursing injuries the remaining returning 2015 players looked good, much like they did in the spring match against Iowa State.

Most noticeable improvement went to AVCA Beach All American Emily Maglio and freshman middle red-shirt Natasha Burns.

While several returning players racked up some impressive numbers as a team the Wahine committed an unusually high amount of hitting errors, see stats.  Coach Hall stated after the match that they became a little predictable.

Defense, which is the hallmark of Hawai`i volleyball, was very good.

Freshman OH Kirsten Sibley and setter Norene Iosia both showed a degree of talent that could possibly land them a starting spot when the line up is announced this week, if not both should see plenty of playing time.

Hawai`i kicks off the 2016 season at home with the Chevron Invitational this weekend against Wisconsin, Kansas State and Arizona.