Longo and Kastl's vocal leadership on the Court is a welcome surprise. It's that extra something that has sometimes been lacking from Hawaii teams.
Uiato and Hartong needs to be more vocal. The newer girls will be looking up to them for that leadership. Other than that, I think they will do very well this season. A few bumps here and there in the preseason, but I believe this team will be very good by postseason.
Starter Returning: Emily Maeda Starters Lost: None Letterwinner Returning: Courtney Lelepali, Kristina Kam Redshirt Returning: Kayla Kawamura Newcomers: Alyssa Longo, Katie Spieler, Sarah Mendoza, Katiana Ponce
Senior and three-year veteran Emily Maeda returns as the starter at libero after playing in all but one match last season. In 32 matches, she was second on the team in digs (254) and third in digs per set (2.47). She posted double figures in digs in 13 matches, which included five of her last six contests. Her best performance was at Cal State Fullerton (Nov. 25) where she recorded a career-high 19 digs.
Seeing limited action in the back row last season was junior Courtney Lelepali. Lelepali played her high school ball at Punahou School in Honolulu before lettering one season at Southern Utah University. In her first season with UH she played in 19 matches and recorded 10 digs.
Competing with Maeda will be a trio of newcomers which included juniors Alyssa Longo and Sarah Mendoza, and freshman Katie Spieler. Longo comes to UH after two seasons at Penn State. For the Nittany Lions, she played in 33 matches and led the team in both digs (397) and digs per set (3.39).
Mendoza joins the 'Bows as a junior transfer from Irvine Valley College with Spieler a true freshman from Dos Pueblos High School in California. Katiana Ponce also comes aboard as a true freshman from Moanalua High School.
Post by Cubicle No More ... on Aug 22, 2012 11:47:42 GMT -5
Subject to change
The Wahine have depth at nearly every position; expect to see lineup flexibility in Friday's opener against Albany
By Cindy Luis, The Star-Advertiser
POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Aug 22, 2012 LAST UPDATED: 04:13 a.m. HST, Aug 22, 2012
STAR-ADVERTISER / 2012 Jane Croson is a likely starter at outside hitter for the Rainbow Wahine, who open Friday against Albany.
STAR-ADVERTISER / 2011 Sophomore Kalei Adolpho will almost certainly be one of the starting middle blockers.
What you see in Set 1 against Albany on Friday night likely won't be what you get from the Hawaii women's volleyball team in Set 2. Or even Set 3.
The depth of talent and keen competition at several positions has Rainbow Wahine coach Dave Shoji still pondering his starting lineup.
The two morning practices since Saturday's scrimmage did little to solidify the team that will be on the Stan Sheriff Center court Friday in the second match of the Chevron Rainbow Wahine Invitational. And with the change of today's practice time to the afternoon another change could come.
"By the end of (today's) practice, we'll have a lineup that we'll play in the first game on the first night," Shoji said. "That could easily change in the second game of the first night."
Junior Emily Hartong and sophomore Jane Croson continue to be easy starting choices at left-side hitter. The right-side hitters — junior Kaela Goodman, junior transfer Ashley Kastl and true freshman Tai Manu-Olevao — are making it tougher for Shoji to decide.
"They can be good, but they're not good all the time," he said. "Kaela is a safe hitter, Ashley has the heat, Tai makes too many errors right now, but she has a lot of pop. She's definitely pushing the other two."
And then there is the battle in the middle, where four are fighting it out for two spots: junior Kristiana Tuaniga, sophomore Kalei Adolpho, sophomore transfer Stephanie Hagins and redshirt freshman Jade Vorster.
Adolpho looks to have the edge at one spot, but "right now I couldn't pick between the other three," Shoji said.
The competition has made everyone better, said Adolpho, who also played basketball for the Wahine last season.
"Every day you have to come out and do well because there's so much competition," she said. "It pushes you beyond what you think you can handle.
"I played a lot of basketball this season and that's carrying over. I think my endurance and movement are better. I'm excited for Friday."
So is Vorster, who hasn't played in an official match since November 2010 as a high school senior.
"Gosh, it's been a long time," Vorster said. "I'm really excited to go out and do the things I've been working on every practice.
"Nothing is set in stone in terms of the lineup and that's a positive. We get along really well and everyone is pretty humble."
It's still a work in progress, associate coach Scott Wong said.
"We have a lot of things to work on, but I like this team," he said. "We're young in a lot of ways. We lost two All-Americans (first-teamer Kanani Danielson and Brittany Hewitt, honorable mention) and Chanteal (Satele), who played a big role for us.
"We have a lot of depth and things can change throughout the year. It's a long season and it's nice to have players you can interchange."
The puzzle will come together Friday — at least for the opening 20 minutes or so.
CHEVRON RAINBOW WAHINE INVITATIONAL At Stan Sheriff Center
» Friday: No. 6 Stanford vs. St. Mary's, 5 p.m.; Albany vs. No. 8 Hawaii
» Saturday: Stanford vs. Albany, 5 p.m.;St. Mary's vs. Hawaii, 7 p.m.
» Sunday: Albany vs. St. Mary's, 3 p.m.; Stanford vs. Hawaii, 5 p.m.
HONOLULU – The No. 8 University of Hawai'i Rainbow Wahine volleyball team opens the 2012 campaign hosting the Chevron Rainbow Wahine Invitational at the Stan Sheriff Center from Aug. 24-26.
UH opens the invitational on Friday, Aug. 24, hosting Albany at 7:00 p.m. They will then face Saint Mary's on Saturday, Aug. 25, at 7:00 p.m. before playing the tournament finale against Stanford on Sunday, Aug. 28, at 5:00 p.m.
Head Coach Dave Shoji begins his 38th season at the helm of the Rainbow Wahine. AVCA All-American Emily Hartong along with all-conference players Mita Uiato and Jane Croson will lead the 'Bows in search of their fifth straight tournament title.
Stanford headlines the challenging list of opponents having been ranked No. 6 with three first place votes in the AVCA Preseason Coaches Poll. The Cardinal advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament last season, finishing with a 22-8 overall record and a No. 14 national ranking.
UAlbany comes in as one of the America East Conference's perennial powers. Last season the Great Danes won the America East for the sixth time, earning a berth to the NCAA Tournament before falling to No. 21 Florida State in the first round. Saint Mary's also enter the invitational as a formidable opponent with a 2011 overall record of 17-12.
Who: Hawai'i, Albany, Stanford, Saint Mary's What: Chevron Rainbow Wahine Invitational When: Friday, August 26. Saturday, August 27. Sunday, August 28. Where: Honolulu, O'ahu (Stan Sheriff Center) Television: OCSports – Channels 16 (SD) and 1016 (HD) will be broadcasting ALL matches of the tournament with Jim Leahey calling the play-by-play and Chris McLachlin doing color commentary. Streaming Video: Available at www.secure.oceanic.com/Streaming. Radio: ESPN Radio (1420 AM) will broadcast all UH matches live with Scott Robbs handling the play-by-play. Audio Webcast:espn1420am.com Live Stats: Live in-game stats are available at HawaiiAthletics.com Ticket Information: Tickets can be purchased online, at Stan Sheriff Center Box Office, or by phone at (808) 944-2697. Tournament Sponsor: Chevron Promotions: Chevron will distribute a total of 750 rally towels and pom-poms before each UH match and will award over $700 in gas during the tournament. Fans can register at the sports marketing table located inside Gate A for a chance to win.
Post by Cubicle No More ... on Aug 23, 2012 12:19:17 GMT -5
Taste of defeat sticks with Wahine
They hope to use memories of a loss to USC as motivation to begin their season
By Ann Miller, The Star-Advertiser
POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Aug 23, 2012
Last time the Rainbow Wahine played a volleyball match, before a sold-out Stan Sheriff Center crowd in December, revenge was sweet for Southern California. After having Hawaii end three of their previous five seasons, the Trojans rode Alex Jupiter's remarkable talents to a five-set win in an NCAA Regional semifinal.
The Wahine felt miserable when it was over and the winter and spring have not dulled their discontent. Going into Friday's season opener against Albany in the Chevron Rainbow Wahine Invitational, they can recall every decisive moment of the 21⁄2-hour experience that featured two of the country's three top-ranked teams. Jupiter, who would be named national player of the year the following week, finished off Hawaii with the last eight of her 33 kills in the final set.
"That fifth set we needed to dig deep within ourselves," UH junior Emily Hartong said. "At that point it's anyone's game and I feel like we should have won. It was hard. We put as much as we could into the match, left it all on the court. If we have the same situation this year, maybe one of us should stand up and take charge. Hopefully I'll become a player like that, but it could be anyone."
Hartong went to the final four in San Antonio to get her second-team All-America award. She watched UCLA beat Illinois for the championship, but could not bring herself to see the semifinals, where USC fell in five to the Illini.
"It's hard to take when it's that close, hard to watch," UH coach Dave Shoji said. "I was a little surprised that Hartong felt very strongly about it. She didn't even want to be at that match. To me, that's a good sign about her. She is really passionate for her own team."
This new, eighth-ranked Wahine team is very different. Three starters are gone and Hartong has moved from the middle to the outside. Shoji will probably shuffle his inexperienced middles awhile — "I really wanted to be a little further along offensively in the middle" — and is searching for someone to break away on the right.
But Mita Uiato is back at setter and so is Jane Croson on the left. Croson is what Shoji remembers most about that USC match. The then-freshman torched the Trojans for 25 kills and 23 digs, both career highs.
"That match showed me and her that she can play at a high, high level against a really good team," Shoji said. "I'm hoping this year she will be more consistent and bring that kind of energy and contribution to the team every night."
Shoji has just one senior this season. Roosevelt graduate Emily Maeda started at libero last year and will probably share defensive duties with Penn State transfer Ali Longo this season.
Maeda said her offseason was filled with memories about "the plays we missed that were so close" in the USC match. She has been reminded relentlessly of the digs that got away and, heading into her final season, knows better than anyone that every play counts.
"We need to do the little things, like talking to each other," Maeda said. "We can't take any play off because that could be the deciding factor between winning or losing the match. It's just the little things."
Or, as UH All-American Kanani Danielson called it the night her college career ended against USC, "the itty-bitty plays." In conference, Hawaii can get away with taking time off. In this preseason and every postseason, that can't happen.
Shoji said he hopes Maeda, Croson, Hartong, Uiato and Longo, who have all played primary roles in the postseason, are prepared to help their teammates reach another level now. That starts against Albany.
"I just want us to play with confidence," Shoji said. "There will be a few people out there for the first time and they might be a little nervous. I hope they can get over that nervousness and play hard and we can play like we can."
CHEVRON RAINBOW WAHINE INVITATIONAL At Stan Sheriff Center
>> Friday: No. 6 Stanford vs. St. Mary’s, 5 p.m.; Albany vs. No. 8 Hawaii, 7 p.m. >> Saturday: Stanford vs. Albany, 5 p.m.; St. Mary’s vs. Hawaii, 7 p.m. >> Sunday: Albany vs. St. Mary’s, 3 p.m.; Stanford vs. Hawaii, 5 p.m. >> TV: OC Sports (Ch. 16) >> Radio: 1420-AM