Hawaii back to No. 15 in poll


Nebraska unanimous no. 1 again
Washington up to No. 5
big jump for San Diego, from 15 to 10.


  1. Andrew September 12, 2016 9:32 am

    Do you see a scenario where the Wahine drop say two, three or even four in Big West matches and someone like Long Beach State wins the conference, and the committee leaves the Wahine out of post season? They don’t have any bad losses except for maybe say Kansas State, but at the same time they don’t necessarily have any strong wins either outside of Arizona. I only ask that because the conference is obviously stronger this year and of course you know how the NCAA committees treat UH teams especially if they’re on the bubble.

  2. haka September 12, 2016 9:41 am

    We are getting better every week as we should if we want to be a great team. Looks like Nikki and Kalei will have to play the season at less than a hundred per cent. Annie will definitely give the middle a boost. Her step out ability especially, will be a welcome option. It will also allow the Castillo option on the outside. In any case, I am sure the coaches will come up with the best playing combinations each and every match.

    Go Wahine!

  3. Robin September 12, 2016 10:49 am

    I can’t find the regional sites on the NCAA website. Are they not predetermined any more?

  4. Robin September 12, 2016 11:01 am


    IMO, the Big West maybe improved, especially at the bottom and the middle. Still, if the Wahine don’t win the conference and say they don’t get an at-large- no big thing… I doubt they would advance beyond a sub-regional if they had to rely on the at-large route.
    Even if Nikki’s health is good by tournament time (given they are in), I’m thinking a strong imminent return of Annie is the only way the team can advance to the same point in the tournament as last year. I don’t expect much hitting improvement from Kalei, though I think the young ones (Iosia, Sibley, Smith) will improve and gel better.

  5. H-Man September 12, 2016 11:01 am

    Nikki Taylor, an All American, a senior and looking fir her best season to make a mark as one of the greatest Wahine to play the game. But really, really bad luck after re-injuring her left elbow. I was also really surprised the coaching staff just ignored her when she obviously was in a great deal of pain and left her in to continue playing. I just hope she decides to allow the injured elbow to completely heal before coming back.

  6. Andrew September 12, 2016 11:18 am


    I’m only asking that because say Nikki is out for a bit and Greeley’s rehab still takes longer. The team may not be ” complete” still until later in the season and by that time they may have a few losses in conference. I fully believe though that if everyone becomes healthy and Mitchem is back in the line up, we will see the team at the potential where we thought they would be coming into the season and make another deep run into the tournament.

  7. Andrew September 12, 2016 11:20 am

    A big help will be having Greeley healthy as well as Mitchem. Two of them can be that 2nd and 3rd terminator that the team needs to take the pressure off of Nikki and diversify the offense.

  8. Andrew September 12, 2016 11:21 am

    Granato of course would be the 4th terminator which she is progressing into becoming

  9. Maverick September 12, 2016 12:00 pm

    1,4. IMO, it is not clear that the Big West as a whole is obviously a better conference. Last year, the Big West went 51-60 in non-conference matches. This year, the record is 41-43, with a week to go. While the BW has a better record, we need to look at the quality of their foes.

    Prime example is Fullerton. 0-12 last year, 5-6 this year. They must be better, right? Well, Fullerton played a stronger schedule last year and really down scheduled this year (which I would do if I had a winless team), with no quality wins. Unclear if they are truly better. Another example is UCSB. 4-7 last year, 8-2 this year. Must be better, even though their only good win is against Colorado State, now unranked, right? Well they had a tougher schedule last year, playing UCLA, LMU, San Diego–all losses. They do play San Diego this week, but otherwise, the schedule is not awe-inspiring. Cal Poly is probably better, even though they are 4-4 this year after going 8-3 last year. They have played a much tougher schedule in 2016: losses to BYU, Stanford, Purdue. LBSU may be worse (Portland State loss?) given its schedule IMO is no better than last year’s. CSUN was 1-11 last year, 3-6 this year with a schedule that is less difficult than last year’s, which included Washingtonx2 and Arizona.

    What I can conclude is that the Big West doesn’t have the really bad, winless or near-winless team of the past couple of years, and that there are a lot of teams in the second-tier, after UH, Poly and LBSU. But I haven’t seen anything yet to suggest the conference is significantly better.

    A couple of other points: UH has no bad losses…each team it has lost to is ranked as of this week. UH’s best win is not against Arizona, but against 27th ranked Missouri State. But UH’s win over ‘Zona was its most exciting.

    To answer your question regarding a non-automatic bid for UH, it is interesting to review the 3-bid 2013 season. UH, CSN and UCSB all made the tourney while finished tied atop the BW. UCSB had the auto-bid. Their RPIs were 17, 41, and 60. The BW had the 8th best conference RPI. Last year, the conference had the 13th ranked conference RPI. I anticipate a conference RPI rank that is closer to 2013’s than last year’s. This year, a lot will depend on the quality of the losses, if they occur, sas well as where UH’s RPI falls by year’s end. UH played a tough schedule, 10th best so far, and its RPI rests at 25. Unfortunately, there are no quality wins outside of Missouri State, which is a problem. IMO, it would take at least 4 losses, including a couple of bad losses, to keep UH out of the tournament. But I don’t think this will happen. UH will get Annie back and this should help stabilize the starting rotation, allowing Castillo to move left. Hopefully, this will improve the left-side production.

  10. Maverick September 12, 2016 12:13 pm

    No UH players won BW awards this week: http://www.bigwest.org/aotw.asp

  11. Robin September 12, 2016 12:30 pm

    10. Thanks for the info.

  12. blunite September 12, 2016 12:42 pm

    If Nikki is out for a period of time (elbow and knee) the team is vulnerable in conference and against Pepperdine. (Based on hitting high hands every play…hitting consistency is difficult at best.)

    The 4 losses tell us that the hitting errors continue, the passing is inconsistent, and there are systemic issues covering the tip (going on 4 weeks now). These issues may persist into conference play.

    IMHO, the one small change was the catalyst that turned a top 10 team into an average one: switching to slower higher outside sets.

  13. haka September 12, 2016 12:50 pm

    #5 H-man
    The coaches did not ignore Nikki’s injury. They repeatedly asked her if she needed to come out after she injured it while she was on the court. She declined and wanted to stay in. During the timeout, she was seen to by the trainer and she again wanted to go in and the trainer must have given her the okay.

  14. Maverick September 12, 2016 12:58 pm

    13. Why not relay your views to the coaching staff directly? An email doesn’t hurt. Clearly you are passionate about the fast offense.

  15. H-Man September 12, 2016 1:07 pm

    I was not the only one that thought she was being ignored by the coaching staff. The television announcers also brought this up during their telecast. They only surmised that the coaching staff probably thought she would have to fight through the pain. What? If I am wrong about this, I don’t mind admitting that I was wrong. It still seemed to me that they were ignoring her.

  16. blunite September 12, 2016 1:15 pm


    I did, but am being over-ruled (apparently by someone not named Shoji).

  17. Maverick September 12, 2016 1:20 pm

    17. I give you credit for sending the email. I will say nothing major happens without Shoji’s ok.

  18. Ron September 12, 2016 1:35 pm

    blunite, You make sense to me. This would make their middle blocker think about having to move rt. sooner and would help free up the middle. Plus Iosia is as good as anyone we have seen this year with the quick set. I think the problem is that they feel that Granato is stronger with the high set. I think Sibley is tall enough and athletic enough to be very successful with the quick set.

  19. Andy September 12, 2016 1:36 pm

    17 – articles this summer said that the coaches were working on speeding up the offense. I see Norene setting fast to the outside on occasion when she gets a good pass off the serve receive, and now the middle are jumping and swinging to fake out more tea before. If they’re not speeding things up, it might be because they can’t get it together.

  20. hollycow September 12, 2016 1:38 pm

    Nikki had the final say to stay in. She told me after the match, there was no way that she was coming out.

  21. blunite September 12, 2016 1:54 pm


    My communications with Shoji goes back at least 20 yrs. For example,

    He went fast sets with Kamana’o and they went 27-0 regular season (Alisha Arnoe, Tara Hittle, Kathy Gregory, Melody Eckmeier, etc.) ranked 2nd in AVCA.

    USC almost did the same. So he knows what a faster offense can do but, there are others who have known him longer. (I never got to work with him.)

  22. LanaiBoy September 12, 2016 3:35 pm

    I sort of remember when Hawaii first encountered a really fast offense in the NCAA regionals against Tennessee State 2007. This virtually unknown team took it to the Wahine with an ultra-fast offense. The Wahine blockers were left flat-footed most of the match. I remember my reaction, losing to Tennessee State! Never heard of them. I’m sure that there were other teams with fast offenses that year and years before. However, most of the top teams used a high-ball offense so the impact of Tennessee’s offense was great to this Hawaii follower.

  23. greenthumb September 12, 2016 4:32 pm

    9, could you clarify toward the end of your analysis — do you mean 4 additional losses from this point on? Thanks.

    As a general observation, I also went back and looked at some stats from the weekend’s play and was wishing that the MH position had received more serves. Maglio in particular has been playing pretty sharp and likely could shoulder more offense. There seemed to be some repetitive setting against UW; more offensive involvement at MH especially yesterday seems like it would have helped.

  24. Hot September 12, 2016 4:41 pm

    14. haka, thank you for mentioning that. I was wondering about that in the previous thread. Nikki obviously upset (and understandably not fully focused). During the challenge late in the fifth set, she was visibly crying and Tiff Wells mentioned something about her knee and I could also see her touching her elbow. The rally that followed was a broken play and I think it was Kahakai who set Taylor and she hit it out even if the blockers were late. I thought she must be really hurting to hit that out instead of just keeping it in. Thanks for mentioning that trainer checked on her and gave her the OK.

  25. Hot September 12, 2016 4:48 pm

    22. blunite, it was the 2004 season with Alicia Arnott and Susie Boogaard at OH, Tara Hittle at OPP, Victoria Prince, Kari Gregory and Melody Eckmier at MB. Kamana`o setting. I believe they were ranked No. 1 at one point. They were undefeated throughout the season until their loss to Wisconsin in the regionals. Ashley Watanabe the libero was injured and missed the entire NCAA tournament. The backup OPP, Teisa Fotu was the libero for the NCAA’s. And in their final match, walk-ons Kelly Ong and Raeceen Woolford took turns at libero (Fotu switched back to OPP because Hittle was struggling).

    23. LanaiBoy, UH also encountered a fast tempo offense in 2003. Georgia Tech, I think? I may be mistaken, but their setter was an All-American.

  26. Not an Expert September 12, 2016 4:52 pm

    Does the setter have free reign on who she wants to set or is she told who to set and what type of set (fast or high) she is to do the majority of the time?

    Another question who goes out on the road to recruit? Would think that with the program’s history, they would have found another dominant type of hitter.

    It appears that every year Hawaii is missing that one additional terminator.

  27. Maverick September 12, 2016 5:32 pm

    24. Yes four additional losses or 8 total.

  28. Warriorfan September 12, 2016 7:10 pm

    The passing wasn’t nearly good enough to set Maglio more, Granato’s passing has been really bad hope Shoji is considering putting in Smith for her in the backrow.

  29. blunite September 12, 2016 9:05 pm

    @19. Ron,

    Thanks for the info; personally, I would help Granato get better with quick sets rather than force all the hitters to face double blocks. Granted, MG had a .200 night but hitting high hands is a “hit or miss” proposition, and very inconsistent. (On the road you have to rely on mainland refs calling touches against the home team.)

  30. warriorwahine September 12, 2016 10:06 pm

    so any update on nikkis elbow and knee? sorry i forgot to mention yeah i noticed nikki stumbling at the match when she was serving.

    that said, they overused her if unnecessarily, but it was them playing down to u-dubs level (wahine actually matches better but decided to go toe to toe with them instead of playing at said ‘higher level’) and shoji using weak passers instead of a ds, and a wounded wahine greeley in the heat (which she really needs to heal, not be targeted especially at end, you can actually see her pain besides nikki.)

    shoji should just have his passers shovel it up vertically in the air, nevermind actually passing it where the setter is/would be.

  31. heluhelu September 13, 2016 7:36 am

    But really, really bad luck after re-injuring her left elbow.

    I watched the UW match & saw the block which triggered Taylor’s distress but since I don’t follow local radio or TV news, did the team announce Taylor will be out henceforth (for undetermined length of time)?

  32. kimo browner September 13, 2016 11:46 am

    Too many injuries to key players. Too many balls in the air to predict any type of post season play. Moreover, the Big West went up another notch in competition this season and the conference title is wide open. It take a super effort for Hawaii to repeat as Conference Champs. I believe many die hard wahine fans have quickly learned this preseason that players who return from injury do not come back with all pistons firing. It takes time, even if 100% recovered, to regain their mojo, blend in the system and for the team on the court to adapt. As we have seen this transformation is no easy task. So many varibles to consider including of course the manner in which Coach Shoji orchestrates the whole deal. Indeed he has been up for the challenge at times with daring audacity in subbing that has led to unforseen productivity by unheralded players in the back row as well as on our flanks.
    To be sure, this season has revealed a Dave Shoji that is equal to the task like a Navy engineer fully engaged in a beach landing. Coach is working hard this year and if he pulls it off in conference play he will merit the team MVP…. and another year…

  33. Cindy Luis September 13, 2016 3:54 pm

    Thanks for getting to some of the questions
    Robin, have mentioned several times the regionals are not predetermined this year. Will go to the highest remaining seed in each region.

    Team did not practice Monday. They are doing so now. New thread up about Taylor being out today.

    The coaches did not ignore Taylor. They asked if she wanted to continue. She said yes. She spoke with the trainer and it was determined she could still play.
    She’s had chronic knee issues, which is why she wears the brace. her knee also began to bother her. She was taking off and landing a lot, had 70 attempts and had to deal with Jones when UW was setting left.

  34. Cindy Luis September 13, 2016 3:55 pm

    33. as for Shoji .. his contract has been rolled over. But he said that doesn’t mean he’ll coach through the extension. He’ll retire when he wants to retire.

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