Dec. 4, 2009
Friday: Hawaii 3, Lobos 0 (22-25, 16-25, 21-25)
By Richard Stevens -- Senior Writer/GoLobos.com
The Lobos didn't so much run into the No. 3 ranked Hawaii Wahine in the first round of the NCAA Volleyball Championships as much as the Lobos ran into Wahine's top gun, Kanani Danielson.
The Lobos' first appearance in the NCAA tourney since 1994 ended in three sets in the Galen Center on the USC campus as Hawaii beat the University of New Mexico 3-0 (22-25, 16-25, 21-25).
The Wahine cruised to the second set win, but the Lobos pushed Hawaii hard in the first and third games, forcing Hawaii into several timeouts in the Wahine's attempt to advance to NCAA second-round play.
"I was proud of the way we played in games one and three," said Lobo coach Jeff Nelson. "I thought in game two, we broke down a little bit, our passing broke down. It was one of our weaker passing matches. Unfortunately that's part of handling the pressure and the match. We were kind of disappointed about that, but other than that, it was fun."
The Wahine's ace in the hole throughout the Friday night match was Danielson, who continued to come up with big hits when Hawaii needed a big point.
"I will say that Hawaii is a one-person wrecking crew," said Nelson. "Danielson is fantastic. They really took it to us tonight. Even when we were committing and moving around on her ... we couldn't stop her. She's a great player."
The Hawaii sophomore finished with 17 kills, eight digs and three blocks. Her attacking percentage was .300. Danielson got a lot of help from sophomore Stephanie Ferrell with 11 kills, Amber Kaufman with 8 and Aneli Cubi-Otineru with 7.
The Lobos were led by senior Rose Morris with nine kills and four digs, followed by Taylor Hadfield with six kills and three blocks, and Ashley Rhoades with six kills. Jade Michaelsen had 22 assists. Hawaii finished with a .340 attack percentage and UNM was at .155.
The Lobos were tied in the first set 22-all before Hawaii (29-2) ran away with that 25-22 win and UNM closed to 21-19 in the final set before the Wahine pulled away for the win. Hawaii beat the Lobos in the kill category 18-13 in game one, 17-8 in game two and 16-9 in game three.
The loss ended UNM's season with a 20-10 mark. It was UNM's eighth trip to the NCAA tourney and left the Lobos with a 5-8 mark in NCAA play. The game was the final one for UNM's three seniors: Rose Morris, Anna Lehne and Allie Suiter.
Game One - Hawaii 25, Lobos 22
The first game was a good one. It was a seesaw affair and both teams did a good job with their hitting. There were a few mental errors on some of the easier plays during the game.
Hawaii was up 9-7 early before UNM threw out a short rally and a Lisa Meeter spike put UNM up 10-9. A service error by Hawaii and a serving ace by Meeter gave UNM a 12-10 lead.
After three consecutive Wahine serving errors and a Hadfield spike put the Lobos up 15-13, Hawaii called a timeout. The Wahine played a little more consistently down the stretch, but the Lobos didn't go down easy.
Hawaii rolled out four straight points to grab a 17-15 lead and it was Nelson's turn to call a timeout. The Lobos battled back and a Morris spike followed by a serving ace by Allison Buck slid the Lobos into a 20-all tie. A Rhoades' block made it 21-all and a Hawaii serving error gave UNM a 22-22 tie. Hawaii closed out the set to grab the 25-22 win with Danielson pounding down the winning blow.
Hawaii had 18 kills in the first set to 13 for the Lobos. Kanani Danielson paced Hawaii with seven kills and Stephanie Ferrell had six. Morris had five kills and two assists for UNM.
Game Two - Hawaii 25, Lobos 16
Hawaii used some nice blocking at the net to help them to a quick 7-4 lead. Danielson got her ninth kill to make it 9-5 Hawaii. A Kaufman spike went long and UNM ended the run: 9-6. A block by Hadfield and a Hawaii error made it 9-8. Kaufman slapped down a spike to end the UNM run: 10-8 Hawaii.
A Lehne spike followed by a Wahine smash into the net gave the Lobos an 11-all tie. The Lobos lost that tie on a serving error followed by an ace on a Hawaii serve and it was 13-11 Hawaii lead. Hawaii stayed up 15-13 and then a Michaelsen tip was blocked to push Hawaii up 16-13. Another Danielson blow made it 17-13 Hawaii and Nelson called a timeout. The Lobos were having trouble handling Danielson's power at the net.
Morris slowed down the Hawaii rally with a hard spike that was blocked out: 17-14. Hawaii got a spike followed by a net call against the Lobos and it was 19-14 in Hawaii's favor. Rhoades got her third kill of the match to cut it to 19-15. Hewitt got a spike and the Wahine were up by five again: 20-15. Danielson crushed another one: 21-15. Nelson again called a timeout.
The Lobos couldn't get the Wahine, or Danielson, off their roll. Hawaii put the Lobos away 25-16 with Danielson again getting the final blow of the game.
The Wahine looked more like the No. 3 ranked team in the nation in the second game and their talent at the net was apparent. Hawaii had 17 kills and five blocks. The Lobos had eight kills and two blocks. UNM had three serving errors in the second game. Danielson again paced Hawaii with seven kills. Brittany Hewitt had four blocks.
Game Three - Hawaii 25, Lobos 21
It looked like Hawaii might cruise to an easy three set win. The Wahine came out of the break and jumped to a 3-0 lead and also a 16-10 lead.
The Lobos turned the 3-0 lead into a 6-5 UNM lead when a Morris serve was mishandled. Hawaii broke out of an 8-all tie to drift into the 16-10 lead. It was a tough spot for the Lobos to find themselves in against the nation's No. 3 team. It was fight or fold. They Lobos decided to fight.
A Hawaii hitting error, an Allison Buck ace and two Morris spikes contributed to UNM battling into a 17-17 tie. The Wahine took an 18-17 lead on a spike by Cubi-Otineru and never again lost their lead. A Hadfield placement shot pulled UNM to 20-19, but Danielson hammered one down the line to make it 21-19. Hawaii then pulled ahead 24-19 before closing out the match with a 25-21 win.