Dec. 6, 2009

Courtesy of Hawai'i Athletics

HONOLULU - The third-ranked University of Hawai'i women's volleyball team beat USC, 25-20, 25-18, 16-25, 27-25 on its home court in the second round of the NCAA Tournament Saturday night at the Galen Center in Los Angeles, to advance to the NCAA Regionals next week.

The Rainbow Wahine, the No. 12 seed in the tournament, beat the Women of Troy for the second straight year on their home court in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. UH improves to 30-2 on the season and has won 26-straight matches.

UH will face No. 5 seed Illinois in the regionals Friday, Dec. 11 at Maples Pavilion on the Stanford campus in Palo Alto, Calif.

On Saturday night, sophomore Kanani Danielson had a big night, recording 23 kills, hitting .409 for the match and recording 11 digs.

Senior Aneli Cubi-Otineru had 14 kills and 12 digs and senior Amber Kaufman had 12 kills and two blocks. Stephanie Ferrell had six kills and Brittany Hewitt had seven blocks and three kills. Dani Mafua set the offense with 54 assists and added 10 digs. Junior Elizabeth Ka'aihue had 20 digs.

In the first set, the Rainbow Wahine ran off five straight points midway through the set to take a 15-9 lead, going on to win 25-20. Danielson led the way with five kills and Kaufman added four kills in the set. Ferrell and Hewitt each added two kills and Mafua had 14 assists. The UH defense held USC to a .000 hitting percentage, while UH hit .235.

UH came out strong in the second set, taking a 6-2 lead and a 16-9 lead, going on to a 25-18 victory. Danielson once again led the way with seven kills on 11 swings and no errors in the set. Kaufman had four kills and Cubi-Otineru and Ferrell each had three kills. Mafua set the offense with 17 assists, leading to a .483 hitting percentage.

The Rainbow Wahine fell behind early in the third set 11-4 to the Women of Troy and USC went on to win the set 25-16. Danielson and Cubi-Otineru each had four kills in the set and Kaufman added two kills.

In the fourth set, UH took a 10-7 lead, before USC tied the set 14-14. After both teams went back-and-forth, UH went ahead 23-19 before USC rallied to take a 24-23 lead. The Rainbow Wahine held off two set points and scored the final three points of the set to win 27-25, including two big blocks by Hewitt.