Wahine vol­ley­ball team hits the road to close out the reg­u­lar sea­son

Honolulu Star-Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE - By Cindy Luis cluis@starad­ver­tiser.com

It’s the fi­nal reg­u­lar-sea­son road trip for Hawaii this week. The ques­tion is: Will it be the fi­nal trip pe­riod? The Rain­bow Wahine (187, 12-2 Big West) are on the NCAA tour­na­ment bub­ble and could miss out on the post­sea­son for just the sec­ond time in pro­gram his­tory. As the con­fer­ence run­ner-up, Hawaii has an au­to­matic bid to the re­vived Na­tional In­vi­ta­tional Vol­ley­ball Cham­pi­onship, but the UH ad­min­is­tra­tion on Tues­day said the in­vi­ta­tion to par­tic­i­pate in the al­ter­na­tive 64-team event would be turned down.

“We will re­spect­fully de­cline if in­vited,” Lois Manin, as­so­ciate ath­letic di­rec­tor/ se­nior woman ad­min­is­tra­tor said.

Among the fac­tors cited was travel cost. It was un­likely that Hawaii could host a first round (Nov. 28 or 29) and spon­sor Triple Crown Sports would pay a max­i­mum of $15,000 for travel, which is less than UH spends for a vol­ley­ball road trip. Rain­bow Wahine coach Robyn Ah Mow-San­tos dis­cussed it with the ad­min­is­tra­tion and was in agree­ment. “It’s like you’re play­ing for 65th place,” she said, re­fer­ring to not be­ing in the NCAA tour­na­ment field of 64. “I think we win two this week and there’s a sliver of a chance (for an NCAA at­large).

“I know our play­ers have seen Cal Poly cel­e­brat­ing be­ing Big West cham­pion. Hope­fully they don’t get de­terred by it, keep play­ing hard and see what hap­pens.” Just as the Wahine have byes to book­end their fi­nal road trip — they were off last week and will be off next week — Hawaii is book­end­ing the con­fer­ence sched­ule with the two teams it opened with eight weeks ago at the Stan Sher­iff Cen­ter.

On Thurs­day, the Wahine are at UC Davis (16-12, 8-7), a team they swept on Sept. 23. They play at UC Irvine (21-6, 9-5) on Satur­day. The Anteaters took Set 1 in a 3-1 UH vic­tory on Sept. 22.

“We’re tak­ing it one game at a time, con­trol what we can con­trol,” Wahine se­nior mid­dle Emily Maglio said. “We want to play our best, beat these teams and see what the NCAA gives us.” “I’m hop­ing it’s not the last time on the road for us,” added se­nior de­fen­sive spe­cial­ist Gianna Guinasso. “The at­ti­tude this week has been that this is not the end. We’re hop­ing for sim­i­lar re­sults as the Long Beach (State) week­end, go 3-and­out (sweep).

“We didn’t get that (Big West) ti­tle, but we’re stay­ing pos­i­tive, keep­ing our heads in that di­rec­tion and look to make a state­ment in the play­offs.”

Hawaii’s most com­plete ef­fort of the sea­son came in its last per­for­mance, a 25-14, 25-11, 25-10 rout of the 49ers in 88 min­utes on se­nior night. Maglio had 19 kills, hit­ting .630, while sopho­more mid­dle Natasha Burns added a ca­reer-high 11 kills without an er­ror in 16 at­tempts.

“Prac­tice makes per­fect,” Burns said. “I’ve been work­ing re­ally hard with An­gel­ica (as­sis­tant Ljungqvist, a for­mer


Se­nior libero Sa­vanah Ka­hakai is five digs shy of pass­ing Tita Ahuna (1,384) for No. 3 on UH’s all-time list.

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