No. 6 Hawai'i Ends No. 12 USC's Season With 3-0 Sweep
Dec. 6, 2008
LOS ANGELES -- Jamie Houston led with a match-high 17 kills and eight digs Saturday as the No. 7 seeded Hawai'i Rainbow Wahine (ranked No. 6 in the nation by Bison/AVCA) swept the USC Women of Troy (ranked No. 12 in the nation), 3-0 (25-21, 25-18, 25-22), in the second round of the NCAA Women's Volleyball Tournament at the Galen Center. UH hit .307 for the match, including a .483 clip in the third and deciding set.
Amber Kaufman had a monster night for Hawai'i (30-3), hitting .714 (10-0-14), while freshman Kanani Danielson had 13 kills, 15 digs and three blocks while hitting .310 (13-4-29). Dani Mafua recorded 43 assists and eight digs for the Rainbow Wahine.
USC finished the season with a 17-12 overall record, led by freshman outside hitter Alex Jupiter (Hermosa Beach/Redondo Union HS), who had 12 kills and hit .300 on the night (12-3-30). Jessica Gysin had nine kills and seven digs, but committed seven hitting errors. Freshman setter Kendall Bateman made her second consecutive start and had 16 assists while junior All-America setter Taylor Carico added three kills and 11 assists.
Danielson's kill gave Hawai'i a 7-5 lead to start the first set. Jupiter put the Trojans ahead on back-to-back kills for the 8-7 advantage. Kaufman and Aneli Cubi-Otineru stuffed a USC block as the Rainbow Wahine retook the lead at 10-9 and used a 5-1 run to extend the score to 13-10. UH kept the lead at three until Carico caught the defense napping by pushing a kill into the back row. USC used back-to-back blocks, cutting the deficit to one, 20-19. Gysin capped a string of three with a solo block as USC took the lead at 21-20, but it was no problem for Houston and the Rainbow Wahine with five straight points to take the first set.
Houston and Danielson were the story again in the second set as kills from both players gave them the 8-5 lead. Houston served an ace and added another kill for the four-point lead at 11-7. Nickie Thomas and Danielson led out as UH built their lead to five at 15-10 and later to 19-13. A 5-1 run, featuring two kills from Kaufman, helped at the end as Hawai'i took the commanding 2-0 lead in the match.
Both teams went back-and-forth in the third set as neither team could build a lead more than a point. At 10-10, Danielson sparked three straight points for the Rainbow Wahine, but back-to-back terminations by Lauren Williams kept the score at 13-12 in favor of Hawai'i. Danielson put UH up by three, but Gysin sparked four straight as USC took the lead, 16-15. Two kills from Kaufman was the center of a 4-1 run as Hawai'i retook the lead for good at 19-17. Houston finished it with three kills as USC ran out of time as the Rainbow Wahine celebrated the win on Danielson's kill for the sweep.
Hawai'i will face Purdue in an NCAA regional semifinal match next weekend in Fort Collins, Colo., hosted by Colorado State.
Notes: USC has made 18 consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances, advancing to the second round every time...Jessica Gysin became the 16th player in Trojan history to record 1,000 kills in her career, needing six kills to reach that plateau (she now has 1,003 in her career)...Alex Jupiter finished the season with 350 kills, becoming just the third freshman in USC history to lead the team in kills (Tracy Clark in 1982 and April Ross in 2000).
USC 21-18-22 UH 25-25-25
NCAA Women's Volleyball Tournament - Second Round Match No. 7 seed Hawai'i vs. USC Los Angeles, Calif. - Galen Center (USC)
Hawai'i Head Coach Dave Shoji
"I think this is a monumental win for our program, beating a Pac-10 team, as talented as USC at USC. I felt the draw was not particularly good for any of the teams in this sub-regional, but we didn't complain about it. We just knew what we had to do. I give my staff and the players all the credit tonight. They played an unbelievable match. Everything we asked them to do, they did. We got some big time performances. Just about everybody came up big tonight. Total team victory and I'm just so proud of my team and the staff. We've got bigger and better things next week, but we are going to really enjoy this win."
"I think Kanani [Danielson] felt like it was the Junior Olympics. They had a lot of players who played against her last year in July. I think she felt like this is just another kind of match like I have been in my whole life. You would think a freshman would have a little nerves and be a little worried, but she didn't play like a freshman. She played like a veteran, which she really is when you look at all the junior ball and international ball she's played. It was just another game to her. It seemed like it. I'm not sure what was going on inside of her, but you look at the numbers and the numbers are really good."
"I had a feeling we would have a lot of green in the stands and we did. A lot of people actually flew over here for the match. We have a huge Hawaiian population in southern California and a lot of them were there. I think it negated a little of the home court advantage. It felt like a home game because everytime we did something good, there was a lot of excitement from the stands. I could feel the energy and I think we took away their home court advantage by having a lot of people there."
"I think (USC's Jessica) Gysin had a slow start and I knew she was a much better player. I don't think she had a kill for the better part of two games. It was a matter of time before she got on track because she's a great player, but (Alex) Jupiter carried them for a while. I think we did a nice job of touching some balls. She had a nice percentage night, but didn't have a lot of numbers. Our small block did a good job against two big time hitters."
Hawai'i setter Dani Mafua
"Going into every set, I told the girls on the court that we had to build momentum early. I think we did a good job of building cushions so that we could run stuff and it was evident that they didn't know what to expect because we were playing games with them, like a chess game. At that point, we had a big lead and we were running our normal offense and I felt like we had control."
Hawai'i middle Amber Kaufman
"At practice yesterday, when we were scheming, I told Dani that we were going to have a big game tomorrow. Another thing, Angelica Lundquist was at practice and said by her senior year she and Robin were telepathic. I think me and Dani are starting to get some of that. It's just really fun to play with her and get sets like that."
Hawai'i outside hitter Kanani Danielson
"Mentally, I was just trying to follow the game plan. We kind of knew what their tendencies were from watching their match before. The best thing we can do against a big team like that is have great block defense, and that's what we did. It's amazing how when we stay as a team, a lot of things work out. I think that's what helped me gel to whatever play I could give up for them. If their doing their best, then I know I have to do my best as well. I just had a wonderful time playing with my teammates."
USC Head Coach Mick Haley
"I'm disappointed. I thought we underachieved and I thought we started to play a little bit better in the third set, but we don't defend as well as we need too and when we don't defend, we can't win. I wish Hawai'i a lot of luck. They played hard and they played with heart. I think they will have a good chance in this regional. We felt like we could win this regional, if we got there."
"I think that anytime we start using two setters, back and forth, it changes the tempo and I think that's hard. Taylor's (Carico) injured and probably will require some arthroscopic surgery sometime next week or the week after. Kendall (Bateman) was doing a nice job in system, but she's not ready to be a quality blocker yet. She does a good job, plays real hard and seems to generate a lot of energy with our team. That's one of the things we seem not able to do with these personalities is generate energy that makes the flow of the game fun for us."
"We knew we had to slow down the left sides or first ball kill with Hawai'i to stay in the game and make it a ball control game, and normally we can do that pretty well. Lauren Williams has done a great job for us as a freshman, but ran out of gas about three weeks ago with this conference being so tough. Audrey (Eichler) came in and played very well. Lauren can produce offense, but block timing is a real issue right now when her body is tired."
"We couldn't get the ball to (Zoe) Garrett enough, and we really felt like she could score in a number of ways. Then, our passing was so bad the first two games, but then we settled in and started passing well and then our first ball kill came along and we were competitive and had a chance to win. We made a couple of unforced errors, we had more errors in the third game than they did. You spot somebody a two-set lead and they are going to play more freely than you do."
"They have a good following. They have been doing this for 30 years. They come to the coast and have a lot of fans and a lot of support. A lot of people came to see them play. They have always had a mystique, ever since I have been playing. It has always been fun to play against a number of teams that we always played against. I think it is tradition and history that draws fans to the game."
"We have to look at what we did get accomplished. We really did get some things accomplished. We didn't recognize how undisciplined we were in a lot of areas and I think that was our undoing at the end. We worked all season at getting to be responsible and there were night were you see that our talent is very, very good. We played some very good matches this year, but week in and week out, the practice effort was not what we need to have for a championship team. That's the most difficult part in college, getting the practice environment to be a game environment. You need seniors to drive that, and if Kelli Tennant (who was forced to retire before the 2008 season) had been there, she would have been a driver because that's the way she is. (Graduated senior) Diane (Copenhagen) and Kelli were great captains last year because you had one that would pat you on the back and the other would push you. We had four other seniors that followed. I thought Jessica and Alli (Hillgren) did everything they could do to try to lead this team, and I think it hurt their game. Two-thirds through the season, we told them to just leave it alone and concentrate on their play. We will pick up in January again and I thought it was a great effort. Alex (Jupiter) needs to grow a great deal because she has great potential to be a dynamic player for us. Kendall has great potential. She gave us good leadership with what she could do as a freshman. Having seniors next year will be wonderful and we will have juniors who see light at the end of the tunnel. We have some freshmen coming in that can challenge. I feel like if we work hard this spring, we will be a very good team next fall."
"I think Hawai'i can beat Purdue. I know Purdue and it will be a challenge because they're big, but they have their weaknesses in ball control. Stanford, we have been so close both times this year. We felt like we had Stanford's number and never could get the effort. Stanford has something to do with that because the two big middles, the two left sides. The setter position and the right side are developing positions for them. We play well against Stanford and we felt like third times a charm. You play somebody twice and you beat them, you don't want to play them a third time. And here we are. We wanted to get into that regional and at a neutral site, we felt like we had a great shot. We wanted Texas in the first round of the Final Four. We would be glad to play the Bruins again. I think this was a great draw for us and for the Wahine. I don't know why they wouldn't want to go for it. I don't know how they'll match up against Stanford. They are going to have trouble with Stanford's middles. Foulke (Akinradewo) is going to give them a problem. It is all about matchups in the draw for the tournament. We felt like our matchups were good. We knew that both of these matches would be very tough. We felt like this was a regional."
USC outside hitter Alex Jupiter
"I just wanted to compete really hard for my team. That was pretty much my whole goal. I was trying not to look at the score too much and just think about playing every ball and give the best effort I could. I think that everyone gave a good effort, but like coach said, there are definitely some problems with some areas of execution. Being on the court I felt like everyone gave a really big effort and was on the same page about wanting to win."
USC outside hitter Jessica Gysin
"I just think we made errors at the wrong time at the end. We weren't passing well all match. We couldn't run our system. We couldn't produce offensively and I blame myself for that. I couldn't get anything going. We had a shot at the end of the third game and we let it slip."