Dec. 4, 2009

LOS ANGELES - The third-ranked University of Hawai'i women's volleyball team swept New Mexico, 25-22, 25-16, 25-21 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday night at the Galen Center on the USC campus in Los Angeles.

The Rainbow Wahine, the No. 12 seed overall, improve to 29-2 on the season and play the winner of the USC-Oklahoma match on Saturday night in the second round at 7 p.m. PT (5 p.m. HT). The match can be seen live on KFVE-The Home Team (Channel 5).

On Friday night, sophomore Kanani Danielson had a match-high 17 kills, hitting .300 for the match and adding eight digs and three blocks.

Sophomore Stephanie Ferrell had 11 kills and hit .421 for the match, while senior Amber Kaufman had eight kills. Freshman Brittany Barker had five kills and five blocks and senior Aneli Cubi-Otineru had seven kills and nine digs.

Dani Mafua set the offense with 39 assists, leading UH to a .340 hitting percentage in the match. Elizabeth Ka'aihue led the defense with 15 digs.

In the first set, the Rainbow Wahine went back-and-forth with the Lobos, pulling ahead at the end for a 25-22 win. Danielson had seven kills in the set and hit .400, while Ferrell had six kills and hit .625. Hewitt had two kills and Mafua had 16 assists, while leading UH to a .432 hitting percentage in the first set.

UH took an early 7-4 lead over New Mexico in the second set and never looked back, winning 25-16. Danielson once again led the way with seven kills and Kaufman had four kills in the set. Ferrell had three kills and Hewitt had two kills and four blocks. Mafua had 12 assists and led UH to a .448 hitting percentage.

The Rainbow Wahine took a 16-10 lead in the third set and held on for the 25-21 victory. Cubi-Otineru had five kills in the set and Danielson and Kaufman had three kills. The UH defense held New Mexico to a .086 hitting percentage in the set.