2009 WAC Volleyball Final Release
After taking the first set 25-23, Hawai’i dropped the next three sets 18-25, 15-25, 18-25, to fall to top-ranked and eventual national champion Penn State in the NCAA Tournament semifinals. The Rainbow Wahine were out-blocked 15-0 and out-hit .276-.135 in the loss. Kanani Danielson led Hawai’i with 14 kills and 11 digs for her eighth double-double of the season, while Dani Mafua had 44 assists and 17 digs for her sixth. Danielson and Mafua were two of five players to finish in double-digit digs for Hawai’i, as Elizabeth Ka’aihue had 18, and Stephanie Brandt and Aneli Cubi-Otineru tallied 11 apiece.
SHOJI NAMED AVCA NATIONAL COACH OF THE YEAR
Hawai’i coach Dave Shoji was named 2009 AVCA Division I National Coach of the Year. It was the second time he has received the award, as he won it in its inaugural year in 1982. In his 35th season, Shoji led his team back to the Final Four for the first time since 2003. He picked up milestone win No. 1,000 on Oct. 17, becoming just the second Division I volleyball coach ever to do so. He coached the Rainbow Wahine to their 28th NCAA Tournament appearance in program history, and the squad made its ninth Final Four appearance. The Rainbow Wahine had a 28-match winning streak during the season and posted a 32-3 overall record, including a perfect 16-0 mark in WAC play. Hawai’i captured its 14th-consecutive WAC regular-season title and won its 10th-straight WAC Tournament title.
FIVE WAC PLAYERS NAMED ALL-AMERICANS
Five WAC players were named to the AVCA All-America team. Hawai’i’s Kanani Danielson headlined the group with first team honors, while teammate Aneli Cubi-Otineru received third team honors. Amber Kaufman and Dani Mafua of Hawai’i and Jennah DeVries of New Mexico State were each named to the honorable mention team.
Danielson, a 5-10 sophomore outside hitter from Ewa Beach, O’ahu, led the Rainbow Wahine to a perfect WAC season along with their 10th WAC Tournament title. One of the country’s best in kills and points per set, Danielson was named the WAC Player of the Year. She is a two-time AVCA All-America selection, having been named to the third team in 2008.
Cubi-Otineru, a 5-11 senior outside hitter from Hale’iwa, O’ahu, propelled the Rainbow Wahine to the NCAA Division I semifinals with a 32-3 record. The three-time all-WAC first team honoree finished the season ranked in the top 20 nationally in aces per set. Cubi-Otineru is a first-time AVCA All-American.
A 6-1 senior middle hitter from San Jose, Calif., Kaufman was named first team all-WAC for a second straight season. She ranks third in the country in hitting percentage (.431). She has 272 kills with 64 digs and 84 blocks.
Mafua, a 5-10 junior setter from Kapolei, O’ahu, was also named first team all-WAC and was named to the all-tournament team at the WAC Tournament. She had 1,355 assists this season. Mafua averaged 13.29 assists per set over the first and second round NCAA matches, ranking fourth among NCAA participants.
DeVries ranked second in the WAC with 10.14 assists per set and the team’s .216 hitting percentage also ranked second. She had 30 or more assists in 18 matches this season and 40 or more assists 10 times.
HAWAI’I’S BRANDT RECEIVES ELITE 88 AWARD
Hawai’i senior Stephanie Brandt was honored at the NCAA Championship Banquet with the Elite 88 Award, a new NCAA award that recognizes the student-athlete with the highest cumulative grade-point average that is on one of the teams at the final championship venue in each of the NCAA’s 88 championships. Brandt is the first Division I women’s volleyball recipient of that honor. Also honored for having the top GPAs on their respective teams were Jessica Granquist (Minnesota), Heather Kisner (Texas) and Heather Tice (Penn State).
HAWAI’I PLAYERS SWEEP WAC ALL-DECADE TEAM
In an online vote, Hawai’i swept all six spots in the WAC All-Decade Volleyball team. Nearly 1,000 fans participated and voted on players that had been on at least two all-WAC teams between 2000 and 2009. Three-time first team All-American and WAC kills leader Kim Willoughby was the leading vote-getter after being named to 715 ballots, followed closely by four-time All-American and WAC assists leader Kanoe Kamana’o with 696 votes. Other honorees were Aneli Cubi-Otineru, Kanani Danielson, Jamie Houston and Lily Kahumoku.
CUBI-OTIINERU NOTCHES 1,000TH CAREER KILL
in Hawai’i’s win over Illinois on Dec. 11, Aneli Cubi-Otineru, who finished the night with 12 kills and nine digs, tallied her 1,000th career kill during the second set of the match. She closed out her three-year career with 1,027.
FIVE WAC PLAYERS NAMED ALL-WEST REGION
Hawai‘i’s Aneli Cubi-Otineru, Kanani Danielson, Amber Kaufman and Dani Mafua, and New Mexico State’s Jennah DeVries were named to the AVCA All-West Region Team. This is the second appearance on the all-region team for Cubi-Otineru and Mafua, while Danielson was West Region Freshman of the Year last season.
HAWAI’I CLAIMS 10TH-STRAIGHT WAC TOURNAMENT TITLE
Top-seeded Hawai’i swept No. 6-seed Boise State in the quarterfinals and No. 2-seed New Mexico State in the championship match to claim its 10th-straight WAC Tournament title last week at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas. WAC Player of the Year Kanani Danielson took tournament MVP honors after averaging 4.33 kills on .310 hitting, 2.33 digs, 0.83 assists, 0.67 blocks and 0.33 service aces over the two matches. Joining Danielson on the all-tournament team were teammates Aneli Cubi-Otineru and Dani Mafua, New Mexico State’s Kelsey Brennan, Jennah DeVries, Kayleigh Giddens and Whitney Woods, and Boise State’s Breann Nesselhuf.
2009 ALL-WAC TEAM
For the 14th-straight year, Hawai‘i boasted the WAC Player of the Year, as sophomore outside hitter Kanani Danielson earned the honor in 2009. Teammate Brittany Hewitt captured Freshman of the Year honors, while head coach Dave Shoji was named WAC Coach of the Year.
Four different schools were represented on the first team and all nine overall. Hawai’i, the No. 1 seed in the WAC Tournament, had four players named to the first team and three to the second team. Second-seeded New Mexico State had four players on the first team and one on the second team, while Idaho had three first-team selections. Nevada had one player on the first team.
For the 14th-straight year, Hawai‘i boasts the WAC Player of the Year. Danielson has ranked in the Top 50 nationally in kills per set all season, averaging 4.11 per set. A sophomore, she was named WAC Player of the Week five times this season. She is a two-time first-team all-WAC honoree.
Hewitt earned Freshman of the Year honors, the seventh Rainbow Wahine player to do so. She ranked second in the conference with a .397 hitting percentage in WAC matches and currently ranks 29th nationally in the category. She was also honored as an All-Freshman Team selection and a second-team all-WAC pick.
Shoji led his team to its 14th-consecutive WAC regular-season title and an undefeated record in WAC play. Earlier this year, he became just the second Division I volleyball coach ever to eclipse the 1,000-win mark. This is the seventh WAC Coach of the Year honor of his career.
HAWAI’I CLAIMS 14TH-STRAIGHT REGULAR-SEASON TITLE
Hawai’i claimed its 14th straight WAC regular-season title with a perfect 16-0 record in WAC matches. It was the 10th time the Rainbow Wahine have completed WAC play without a loss and their 12th overall unbeaten season in conference play (the team did it as a member of the Big West Conference in 1988 and 1995).
THREE WAC PLAYERS EARN ACADEMIC ALL-REGION HONORS
Three WAC volleyball players – Erin Birmingham of New Mexico State, Kanani Danielson of Hawai’i and Shantell Durrant of Utah State – earned Academic All-District honors from the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). All three were named to the second team in their respective districts. Birmingham, a senior middle hitter from Riverside, Mo., has a cumulative 3.88 grade-point average in exercise science. Danielson, a sophomore outside hitter from ‘Ewa Beach, O‘ahu, has a cumulative GPA of 3.51. Durrant, a junior middle blocker from American Fork, Utah, has a cumulative 3.83 GPA in psychology.
HAWAI‘I CLOSES SEASON AT NO. 3 IN NATIONAL POLL
Hawai’i finished the season ranked No. 3 in the AVCA national poll. The Rainbow Wahine had been in that spot since Oct. 12. It was the highest ranking for Hawai’i since Dec. 6, 2004, when Hawai’i was No. 2. The Rainbow Wahine closed out the season ranked 11th in the RPI.
WAC IN THE NATIONAL STATS
As a team, Idaho led the nation with 3.23 blocks per set, while New Mexico State was 20th with a 2.66 average. The Rainbow Wahine were third in hitting percentage (.305) and in winning percentage (.914), 12th in kills (14.58) and assists (13.56), and 17th in service aces (1.70). Meanwhile, New Mexico State was 33rd in kills (13.89) and 46th in assists (12.70).
Four WAC players ranked in the Top 50 nationally in blocks per set, led by Idaho’s Anna McKinney in sixth place with a 1.50 average, followed by teammate Debbie Pederson in 11th with 1.46 per set. Hawai’i’s Brittany Hewitt was 20th with a 1.33 average, followed by Fresno State’s Brianna Clarke in 26th with a 1.30 average.
Several other players ranked in the Top 50 in other statistical categories. Hawai’i’s Amber Kaufman was fourth in hitting percentage (.431) and 46th in service aces (0.40). Rainbow Wahine teammate Aneli Cubi-Otineru ranked 12th in service aces per set (0.50), while Dani Mafua was 11th in assists per set (11.78). Kanani Danielson was 33rd in kills (4.23) and 36th in points (4.69). Meanwhile, New Mexico State’s Kayleigh Giddens was 48th in kills per set (4.00) and Idaho’s Sarah Conwell was 49th in points (4.56).
HAWAI’I LED NATION IN ATTENDANCE
The Rainbow Wahine led the nation in attendance with an average of 6,423 fans per match, well ahead of Nebraska’s 4,959 average. In addition, all 20 of Hawai’i’s home matches this season ranked in the Top 40 highest attended for the year, including 11 in the Top 20 and three of the Top 10. Meanwhile, New Mexico State ranked18th nationally (1,919), Fresno State was 22nd with a 1,787 average and Utah State was 52nd (876).
SHOJI EARNS 1,000TH CAREER VICTORY
Hawai’i head coach Dave Shoji became just the fourth women’s volleyball coach ever and only the second Division I coach to reach 1,000 wins when his team defeated New Mexico State in four sets on Oct. 17. At the Division I level, Shoji trails only UCLA’s Andy Banachowski (1,106) in victories. Shoji has led his team to 15 consecutive conference titles.
TOP STAT LEADERS
In overall team stats, Hawai‘i led the conference in hitting percentage (.313), opponent hitting percentage (.146), assists (13.59), kills (14.63) and service aces (1.73). Idaho is tops in blocks per set (3.23) and digs per set (14.93).
In conference only statistics, Hawai‘i led the WAC in hitting percentage (.347), opponent hitting percentage (.106), assists (13.54), kills (14.75) and service aces (1.75). Idaho was tops in blocks (3.43) and digs (15.80).
Individually, Hawai’i’s Kanani Danielson led the league in kills (4.23) and points (4.69) per set. Teammates Amber Kaufman, Dani Mafua and Aneli Cubi-Otineru were tops in hitting percentage (.431), assists (11.78) and service aces (0.50), respectively. Idaho’s Anna McKinney led the WAC in blocks per set (1.50), while Christine Morrill of Utah State was tops in digs per set (4.62).
In conference matches only, Hawai‘i’s Kaufman, Mafua and Cubi-Otineru were tops in hitting percentage (472), assists (11.76) and service aces (0.52), respectively. Morrill led the conference in digs (4.93), while Kayleigh Giddens of New Mexico State led the WAC in kills (4.47). Idaho’s Debbie Pederson and Sarah Conwell led the WAC in blocking (1.63) and points (5.07), respectively.
UH RECORDS PROGRAM’S 1,000TH WIN
Hawai’i’s victory over Stanford on Sept. 12 was the program’s 1,000th win since it began playing a Division I schedule in 1974. The Rainbow Wahine have won four national titles in that span and participated in 27 NCAA Tournaments.
BOISE STATE BRONCOS (8-22, 7-9 WAC)
The No. 6-seed Broncos upset third-seeded Idaho (25-22, 26-24, 23-25, 25-21) in the opening round of the WAC Tournament before falling in straight sets (16-25, 24-26, 10-25) to No. 2-seed New Mexico State in the quarterfinals ... It was the furthest the Broncos have advanced in the WAC Tournament since they joined the conference in 2001 ... Breann Nesselhuf was named to the all-tournament team after averaging 10.29 assists, 1.14 kills, 1.00 digs and 0.71 blocks over the two matches ... Nesselhuf, Sadie Maughan and Alisha Young were all named second-team all-WAC, while Liz Harden was named to the All-Freshman Team ... Boise State’s 7-9 WAC record was the program’s best ever.
FRESNO STATE BULLDOGS (15-16, 7-9 WAC)
The fifth-seeded Bulldogs defeated No. 4-seed Nevada in five sets (14-25, 25-23, 20-25, 26-24, 15-12) in the opening round of the WAC Tournament before being swept (15-25, 15-25, 17-25) by top-seeded Hawai’i in the quarterfinals ... Brianna Clarke and Kelly Leonardo were honored as second-team all-WAC selections, while Marissa Brand was named to the All-Freshman Team ... The Bulldogs finished in the top six in the WAC standings for the first time since 2004 ... The 15 wins were the most by a Bulldog team since 2004, while the seven WAC wins were the most since 2003 ... Leonardo finished her career ranked fifth in total blocks (343) and 10th in solo blocks (59) at Fresno State ... Allanah Munson ranks eighth all-time at Fresno State in career assists (1,779), while Lisa Gera ranks 10th in digs (934).
HAWAI‘I RAINBOW WAHINE (32-3, 16-0 WAC)
Hawai’i ended its memorable season with a 3-1 (25-23, 18-25, 15-25, 18-25) loss to No. 1 and eventual national champion Penn State in the NCAA Championship semifinal ... Kanani Danielson led the way with 14 kills and 11 digs for her eighth double-double of the season, while Aneli Cubi-Otineru had 10 kills and 11 digs for her fifth double-double ... Stephanie Ferrell added 13 kills, Amber Kaufman had nine kills on .316 hitting and Dani Mafua had 44 assists and 17 digs for her sixth double-double of the season ... Hawai’i had a season-high 75 digs in the match ... Head coach Dave Shoji was honored as the AVCA National Coach of the Year, while Danielson was a first team All-American and Cubi-Otineru was named to the third team ... The Rainbow Wahine ended the season with a 32-3 record, marking the 18th time the program has surpassed 30 wins.
IDAHO VANDALS (15-15, 11-5 WAC)
The third-seeded Vandals fell to No. 6-seed Boise State (22-25, 24-26, 25-23, 21-25) in the opening round of the WAC Tournament to close out the season ... Meredith Rice set a WAC Tournament record with 33 digs in the loss ... Sarah Conwell, Anna McKinney and Debbie Pederson were named to the all-WAC first team ... McKinney finished the season with 164 block assists to break the Idaho record held since 1993 ... McKinney closed out her career ranked ninth on the WAC career blocking leaders list with 485 ... Idaho set a new WAC record with 206 blocks in conference matches ... McKinney ranked sixth nationally in blocks per set (1.50), while Pederson was 11th (1.46) ... Conwell ranked 48th in the nation in points per set (4.56) ... As a team, Idaho led the nation with 3.23 blocks per set.
LOUISIANA TECH LADY TECHSTERS (15-18, 4-12 WAC)
The Techsters finished the season 15-18 overall and 4-12 in WAC play, good for eighth place ... Nataliya Panova recorded a team-best 10 double-doubles on the year ... Kara Jones posted a WAC-best 32 solo blocks on the season ... Jones finished the season with 131 total blocks, tied for second place all-time in the Tech single-season record books ... Tech’s 15 wins this season were the most since 2005, as the Techsters won a combined 16 matches in the past three seasons and posted an 11-win turnaround from last season ... KC Clayton, a second-team all-WAC pick, closed out her career with 376 total blocks, good for third place all-time at Louisiana Tech.
NEVADA WOLF PACK (11-20, 7-9 WAC)
The fourth-seeded Wolf Pack fell in five sets (25-14, 23-25, 25-20, 24-26, 12-15) to No. 5-seed Fresno State in the opening round of the WAC Tournament ... Kylie Harrington was named first-team all-WAC, while Lindsay Baldwin was a second-team honoree and Elissa Ji was named to the All-Freshman team ... Nicole Link has 1,014 career digs, good for ninth place all-time at Nevada ... Link’s 430 digs this season ranks second ... Sonnie Sei closed out her career ranked seventh on the Nevada assists list with 1,842 ... Baldwin ranks fourth in block assists (340) and total blocks (379) and sixth in points (1038) on the Pack career lists ... Harrington is seventh with 947 career points, while Jorgan Staker is seventh in block assists (229) and eighth in total blocks (234).
NEW MEXICO STATE AGGIES (20-9, 13-3 WAC)
The No. 2-seed Aggies swept sixth-seeded Boise State (25-16, 26-24, 25-10) in the quarterfinals of the WAC Tournament before falling to top-seeded Hawai’i (12-25, 17-25, 23-25) in the championship match ... Kelsey Brennan, Jennah DeVries, Kayleigh Giddens, Whitney Woods, all of whom were first-team all-WAC honorees, were named to the all-tournament team ... The Aggies closed out the season with a 3-1 (21-25, 25-23, 25-20, 26-24) road win over No. 23 Colorado State ... DeVries was an honorable mention All-American ... NM State ranked 20th nationally in blocks (2.66) and 33rd in kills (13.89), while Kayleigh Giddens was 48th in kills (4.00) ... Second team all-WAC pick Erin Birmingham had 114 block assists, tied for 10th at NM State, while her career average of 1.11 blocks per set is tied for seventh in the Aggie record books.
SAN JOSE STATE SPARTANS (1-25, 1-14 WAC)
The Spartans’ Alex Akana and Caitlin Andrade were named to the WAC All-Freshman Team ... Akana averaged 1.99 kills and 0.46 blocks per set, while Andrade averaged 8.04 assists, 2.31 digs and 0.96 kills on a team-best .301 hitting ... Andrade recorded 11 double-doubles on the season, good for second place in the WAC ... Andrade remains the only player in the WAC and one of just 27 players nationwide to record a triple-double this season ... Kristal Tsukano closed out her career ranked third in the SJSU career record books with 1,350 digs.
UTAH STATE AGGIES (15-14, 6-10 WAC)
The Aggies’ Liz McArthur was named to the all-WAC second team after averaging 3.80 kills and 1.66 digs ... Christine Morrill led the WAC in conference matches with 4.93 digs per set, while McArthur ranked fourth with 3.80 kills per set ... Morrill’s 531 digs this season rank second all-time in the Aggie single-season record books, while McArthur’s 433 kills rank ninth ... Morrill ranks second all-time at Utah State with 1,273 career digs, while Chelsea Fowles is third with 3,281 career assists, 252 away from second and 661 shy of the record.