Round up the usual suspects …

Stay safe out there. It is nasty on the windward side

anyway, the comment about the usual suspects got me thinking about just who have been the ‘usual’ since the BCS philosophy took over volleyball. Yes, bored on my day off and don’t feel like cleaning house

Let’s just start with 2000 and the teams with the most final four appearances.

There was a comment about Penn State-Texas again for the title. only happened in 2009

Including this year with Penn State, Texas, Wisconsin and Washington alphabetically)

USC  7

Penn State 6 (6 in 7 years, thanks to cakewalk brackets, missed in 2011)

Stanford 6

Nebraska 5

Texas 5 (5 in 6 years,missed 2011)

Hawaii 4

Washington 4 (first since 06 when Huskies made three straight 04-05-06

Minnesota 3

California 2

Florida 2


Wisconsin 2 (first since 2000)

Arizona 1

Florida State 1

Illinois 1

Long Beach State 1

Michigan 1


Santa Clara 1

Tennessee 1


  1. LanaiBoy December 15, 2013 3:51 pm

    Yep. There were only three non-BCS schools—Hawaii, Long Beach State, and Santa Clara— to reach the final four compared to 17 BCS schools. The rich will get richer, particularly the top five on the list, USC, Penn State, Stanford, Nebraska, and Texas. They get the creme de creme in terms of recruiting.

  2. Ron December 15, 2013 5:09 pm

    Its clear in Diamond Head, thanks for the interesting data. Agree with LanaiBoy but that is not going to change and I sort of enjoy rooting for and supporting the underdog.

  3. Warriorfan December 15, 2013 6:11 pm

    1. Plus the thing that really sticks in my craw is that these schools are starting to get international recruits too, they are not happy with just the top US talent.
    Pilar Victoria at Texas would start on many top 15 teams , USC got Samantha Bricio, PSU has a puerto rican that would start at any team outside of the top 5, and Stanford got an european that has a lot of potential.

  4. airinfall December 15, 2013 6:57 pm

    This topic of conversation has come up even in the commentary during the regional finals about the BCS school dominance and the attributes of having that little chip over non-BCS schools for recruiting and investment in student athletes. Jerritt Elliott made a point, after their regional win over Nebraska, that part of the success of his volleyball program and able to recruit is due to the success of Mack Brown who built their football program into a BCS program. Holly McPeak also made a point about the abilities of the student-athlete these days; they come out of high-school and into the collegiate game as primed and dominating players with knowledge and skill which surpassed that of players during her era. The level of play in all sports at the collegiate level has risen exponentially amongst athletes of all areas and demographic, as well as their competitiveness and wanting to win championships. A program with the tradition of winning championships will get these recruits, substantially over a program with a coach they’d like to be coached by, which I feel the Wahine program is in. The athletes under Dave Shoji’s tutelage know of his legacy and tradition for producing athletes in a great environment fostered by the support of the state of Hawai’i, despite not having the championship tradition. So let the BCS schools get their championships, but let non-BCS schools provide the storybook upsets with as equally talented athletes.

  5. mei mei December 16, 2013 8:52 am

    I was super impressed with the Elite 8 and their performances – very top notch and impressive Talents & athletes! Gosh… if only we garnered our fair share of them… alas i know it is tough, i know i know, blah blah – one can only wish and hope.

    I am thankful for the Hartongs, the Willoughbys, Niki Taylor and the other amazing athletes that do go through here – but yes we don’t always get the Blue Chip players and we get the “projects” as coach has said.

    I believe we had deserved to be At the elite 8 and final 4 as well… not sure what happened… going down like that in a whimper, I know the team was disappointed along with the entire state…

    As the true fans know Coach and staff does a pretty good job with the team year in, year out, considering …

    As always go BOWS ~

  6. Andrew December 16, 2013 9:26 am

    That freshman from USC was amazing. The only knock on USC was that they were not as effective when she was subbed out. I think had she been in at the end, they could have pulled out the win.

  7. nana kokolele December 16, 2013 10:06 am

    6. Bricio for USC had a quiet match offensively…who can blame her, prior to that match, she was the go to player and leader. I really wanted USC to pull it off. Again, it came down to a few misses for the win.

  8. Brandon December 16, 2013 10:16 am

    7. Bricio played horribly. I don’t know what match you were watching. Ebony was the star of that match

  9. Brandon December 16, 2013 10:16 am

    Never mind I thought they said quite not quiet. I apologize

  10. Andrew December 16, 2013 10:40 am


    Yeah she was pretty good but definitely not up to her potential. I feel like most of the team was just in the background and Ebony pretty much carried them.

  11. nana kokolele December 16, 2013 10:42 am

    BCS rules…true. UH is a non BCS program, true. Next year, UH will have a program with the seniors on the cover…make a long video reflecting what its like to be a wahine. Get the marketing out to renew and tout the all conference players that will lead the team to victory. Only in the end, they will fall flat. Every year I renew, believe and then reflect. If UH was smart, they would start fresh, even the blimp dropping two free tacos from jack in the box is getting tired and old. And the bougie urban rap is getting old blaring from the loud speakers. Not to mention the same old band songs and the hawaii five o theme with everyone paddling only on one side (if that actually happened on a canoe, you’d be going in a circle). Even Billy V’s nasally voice trying to sound generic is annoying. Slowly but surely the aunties and all the old time faithful fans are coming around to the reality. Smoke and puff, free t shirts with free advertisement for companies, greasy tasteless chicken fingers, doesn’t compensate for a team and coaches that are fighters and hungry. A few things I loved about the semi’s. When a team huddle is called, ALL the players come in for the huddle, even the redshirts. The instructions are given to the entire team, probably because at some point the bench players will come in and knowing the plan will help them with their assignment. Also, all the players on the court are so into the match, they don’t look scared or lost, what they show on their faces is determination and energy. You can see they want to win and will go all out to do so. And the coaches all have things to discuss and plays and stats as the match is being played. Now that is what I found UH to lack. Energy from all the players.

  12. LC December 16, 2013 10:55 am

    Nwanebu might be the NFOY.

  13. Cindy Luis December 16, 2013 11:14 am

    4. It’s also tough to win in volleyball when the odds are stacked against you in the bracket for the non-BCS teams, which get 1 or 2 teams in. Big West this year a bit of a fluke (in recent memory with 3)
    It’s not a level playing field in the bracket when the Pac-12 (9), Big 10 (8) and SEC (8) made up over a third of the bracket.
    The reason I chose 2000 was it was the first year of the BCS influence
    1999 was the last time you had 2 “non-BCS’ conference teams in the final four with Long Beach State and Pacific
    since then, only Hawaii has made the final four more than once. the others with 1 appearance are Long Beach State and Santa Clara. The Beach the last non-BCS team to play for the title in 2001 (thanks of the correction.

  14. Andrew December 16, 2013 11:54 am


    I thought your side comment on Penn State having cake walk regional brackets handed to them funny but yet very true. It seems they only really have at most one challenge along the way to the final four. Although in some years it seems they don’t have any challenges at all until the final four. Seems that the committees attempts to give more favorable bracket placements for the eastern teams is getting more and more obvious. They pretty much stacked almost all of the Pac 12 teams into one side of the bracket knowing that they’d have to knock eachother out to get to the final four.

  15. nana kokolele December 16, 2013 12:30 pm

    13. Cindy what you are saying is 100 percent TRUE. No disputing it. And try as it may, UH comparing apples to apples player for player does not match up with the elites. I get that, I really do. But in the end, UH IS competing with the BCS schools. and as non BCS schools go, UH is at the top consistently. But again, we are competing against the BCS schools. so either non BCS schools will have to get into a BCS conference or it will have to relegate for that one out of six times it will make it to the final four. So the question isn’t when UH will make it, the odds are that in the next few years UH will make it, but, instead i look it this way. If UH wants to up the level of blue chip players it can land, it would make sense to provide them with the best program that can compare with the other elites. The more top blue chip players are on one team, I’m convinced that more top players will want to play there. A legacy is built overnight, neither is sustaining it. Its a factor that non BCS schools will have to compete harder to match up against the elites but it shouldn’t be an excuse. I would look for a group of blue chip players that want to play together. Convince them that they can make UH great again and get them to bring in more players they know. Do something to be able to compete. I believe that going the BCS route is the only way to compete in the long run.

  16. Cindy Luis December 16, 2013 12:38 pm

    Since UH isn’t getting into a BCS conference ….
    Again, it’s not like UH hasn’t gone after the top recruits. You can ask any top coach in the country, and they will tell you they are amazed by what Hawaii has been able to do given the obstacles. Haley, Rose, Banachowski, Hebert, to name a few all told me the same thing earlier this year. Some of their quotes made it into the Shoji special we ran.

  17. View from afar December 16, 2013 2:17 pm

    UH will always have an uphill battle for top recruits no matter what sport or academic area you are talking about for all the numerous reasons talked about by the blog contributors. But remember since we are talking about studen-atheletes, it is not just about the sports but the whole educational experience of which sports is only a small part. I’d encourage anyone who has an opportunity while traveling to take some time to tour any major (or even not so major) college campuses AND the surrounding community. I visited most of the UC (University of California) and several CSU (California State University) campuses in the recent past as well as USC and Stanford in the distant past and have always come away very impressed with the “feel” of those institutions and the communities that go with them. Certainly the coaching staff will do their best while recruiting to try and convince student-altheletes to attend UH, but no doubt UH will always be a hard sell compared to those places. Dave Shoji will coach a bit more, but is certainly towards the end of his carreer. Hopefully whoever follows him will continue to be able to develop and coach up the individuals who join the program so it can have continued success if not long runs into the post season.

  18. Andrew December 16, 2013 2:24 pm


    Since everyone is so concerned with RPI and strength of schedule, do you think it would be a good idea for UH to maybe tweak one of its preseason tournaments and make an agreement with a few schools (I.e Stanford, USC, etc. and UCLA since the bruins come down every year) to make an elite type 4 team tourney? I remember when you mentioned that Shoji was still trying to complete next years schedules and some teams were concerned with RPI and were waiting to see what other teams were coming before committing.

  19. Andrew December 16, 2013 2:31 pm

    They could make it a yearly type thing and possibly even get help from ESPN for possible tv coverage considering the caliber of teams. And of course the arena would be packed.

  20. Cindy Luis December 16, 2013 2:50 pm

    18. they’ve been looking at it but i believe a couple of conferences beat them to it, as I mentioned a while back about another conference challenge.

  21. Michael Farias December 16, 2013 2:52 pm

    I hope that next season, Dave will work on team building, building up confidence among the ENTIRE team, and realize that it really does take all 6 players to accomplish that ” next level” playing caliber. Getting the middles involved is critical. Even if say.. The middles get 60 percent of the attempts over, at least that’s still an option other than Hawaiis usual.. Outside, outside, outside.. Pipe.. Too predictable. And Dave should start implementing running “plays”. Move around the players to diversify the attack. I can only hope for the best!!!!!

  22. Andrew December 16, 2013 2:53 pm

    20. oh is that between the Pac 12 and Big 10?

  23. Cindy Luis December 16, 2013 3:09 pm

    not recalling all the details, sorry. an offhand remark by a coach back in aug.

  24. surfboy December 16, 2013 3:24 pm

    Hey Cindy, I recall earlier during the preseason or before the preseason that you mentioned Shoji was working on a Monster of a Tourney for next season….do you know what teams he is talking about or any details?

  25. Andrew December 16, 2013 4:42 pm


    She said that they were looking at it, but because of the new conference challenges tourneys, it’s difficult to do so

  26. Ki December 16, 2013 7:46 pm

    13. Actually Long Beach State played Stanford for the National Title in 2001 with Stanford winning the match in 4 I believe.

  27. Cindy Luis December 17, 2013 12:20 am

    23. there was talk. the window may have closed.

  28. Cindy Luis December 17, 2013 12:23 am

    25. thank you. i stand corrected

  29. Cubicle1126 December 17, 2013 8:59 am

    there’s more parity in the volleyball landscape, but the truly elite programs (Penn State, Stanford, USC, Nebraska, Texas) are the only ones who are able to put together these “mega” recruiting classes, made up of multiple top 10 recruits. that’s where those programs are separating themselves from everyone else.

    so parity all around, but there’s a widening gap between where everyone else is and the programs at the top.

  30. nana kokolele December 17, 2013 10:34 am

    yup. at the top…when Jerritt Elliot came on board at texas, he turned that program around. I mean Mick Haley won the championship at Texas against UH in 1988, I remember Tee Williams with a gimpy arm fighting with all her heart. And Texas’s Dagmara Szyszczak a sophomore, just took UH apart. But after that, not much success. Jerriott Elliot is a magnetic person, for many of his players, they said he convinced them that Texas was poised to take over the sport. It started with two players and from there it just exploded. The football team’s success provided the seed money for all Texas sports not to mention the lucrative TV market. USC was the same way. Lisa Love really tried to keep USC competitive, but only after her retirement and promotion to associate Athletic director then senior associate athletic director at USC did they finally broke free and won. So true at Washington, before Jim M. it was always an also ran in the PAC. His success with the men’s team led him to take over the women’s team. Maybe the same will be said about UH, when the time comes.

  31. 808 December 17, 2013 11:41 am

    Interesting thread on Volleytalk gives another example of BCS football money’s influence on volleyball:

    As with many Volleytalk threads, it goes off-topic pretty quickly and actually gets quite amusing, but the initial point of the thread is that the three out-of-town teams in the FF seem to be flying via chartered flights to Seattle (there’s conflicting reports about Texas, but I’d guess they’d be chartering too; of the three schools, they’ve probably got the most bucks). The NCAA apparently only pays so much for commercial flights so the individual schools are picking up the balance of the cost of the charters. The life (and money) of BCS programs.

  32. nana kokolele December 17, 2013 12:03 pm

    well then the REALITY is..UH can strive for a championship, I mean dreams can come true, or it can settle for winning the conference. Its just that, with all the hype comes all the let down. I’m almost convinced to chant were number – (starts at 12 or 13 then move into the top 10 then fall out of the top ten and then gets sent to washington or USC only to lose in the second round.) and start the campaign again. Like deja vu.

  33. Brandon December 17, 2013 3:21 pm

    All Americans were decided today and players were notified. The list comes out tomorrow though

  34. ifo manao December 17, 2013 7:07 pm

    off-topic thread but..
    i was a touched by the emotion displayed in USC’s post game interview after their loss to washington.
    heres a coach that really feels for his seniors (aka shoji). it almost made me a USC fan..

    shoji’s coaching abilities are no different than the BCS monsters. sorry russ, jim, mick, john. but if only dave had your recruits we’d be in pitch’n for the national championship “every” year.

  35. Brandon December 18, 2013 7:45 am

    Hartong announced first team AA

  36. Cindy Luis December 18, 2013 8:24 am

    33. they were notified earlier in order to get to the banquet Wednesday
    35. see new thread

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