Tuesday check in

They were back at practice after a day off.
Shoji had a longer discussion than normal before they started, lasted about 15
Told the team that every position was back up for grabs and that they were going to look at a number of options
Those include Taylor playing left, Mitchem playing left, Castillo going back in the middle.
He told me and TV that Long Beach exposed their weaknesses, which as has been discussed, the lack of production on the left and the passing. Said it was a winnable match and that they didn’t score when they needed to, that Long Beach did. Said they had a good game play for Hawaii and executed.

Kahakai, who has been sick, was not at practice.


  1. hollycow October 11, 2016 5:12 pm

    Hawaii has better players than the Beach in all positions, except arguably the left side and libero. At least Shoji is open minded about moving players to strengthen their weaknesses that were exposed. This week especially against Irvine and Davis and the following road trip, is a opportunity to implement some changes and work on getting cohesiveness on a settled lineup for the final stretch drive. These next 4 matches will be very interesting to see what comes about lineup changes to peak for the match up with Long Beach at home and the post season.

  2. Bleachercoach October 11, 2016 5:14 pm

    Cindy, if they are going to try Taylor and Mitchem at the Left , it would be fair to say that the Opposite would be either be one of them also. Would love to see this lineup and see what would happen

    Setter: Iosia
    Opp: Taylor
    Left: Mitchem
    MB: Maglio
    O/H: Castillo
    Libero: Kahakai

    1st subs to the front if needed would be Granato or Sibley

    1st player to go in for any BIGS rotating to the backrow would be Emma Smith or Clare-Marie Anderson.

    I wouldn’t hesitate to bring Koelsch in at times too…She has proved to be very useful in blocking situations

  3. Pot of Gold October 11, 2016 5:16 pm

    Not sure why he would consider Nikki Taylor on left side, she is as solid a piece to the puzzle as there is on right-side. I guess the threat of everyone’s position being up for grabs can only hit home if Nikki’s spot is as well.

    The only way that move works is if Mitchem and Taylor ate moved to the left side to exploit a weak block on a team or a strong serving team. That would be a nice single option for a setter to have.

    When the rematch happens with LB, it will be interesting to see the lineup adjustments. Are these just threats to wakeup the starters or does Shoji really intend to make changes to help out the weak passing.

    At least Shoji is looking for the answer to counter the current unbalanced attack. The talent is there, finding the right mix is the hard part.

  4. kahuna October 11, 2016 5:45 pm

    Instead of turning the whole team upside down due to some weakness …I think Dave should find ways to improve on those weaknesses. I don’t see Nicki Taylor as a problem on the right nor do I see Annie Michem as a problem in the middle so why is Dave thinking about messing with that?

    Making a drastic move like that would just make it worst IMHO. You taking the two solid contributors on the team and putting them in unfamiliar territory.

    It would be like Rolovich saying that the football lack pass rush so Rolo move starting OLman Dejon Allen and put him on the DL. We lose a top notch OLman who is now playing a position he has yet to master. Not a smart move IMHO.

  5. Connor October 11, 2016 5:56 pm

    Glad that Dave sees the same problems as we do. I hope that we see a stronger attack and better passing and serving this weekend. Hope that this is not just lip service to quell the restless.

  6. Bleachercoach October 11, 2016 6:34 pm

    #4. Couldn’t have said it any better!!

  7. islandman October 11, 2016 7:23 pm

    1. Sorry, i think LBSU had the better players at MB too, in Murray and Xue, at least for that last match, in hitting but maybe not in blocking.

  8. Ashley October 11, 2016 7:49 pm

    Nikki was right about one thing, LB does mirror their team. Tbh, that match was 100% winnable, if they wouldn’t have made all the mistakes they were making, i truly believe they could have won.

    glad Dave is opening all positions. they need to earn their spots back. we will see how the team adjusts come Friday against Irvine

  9. Harold October 11, 2016 8:16 pm

    The fault of any loss is not the result of a specific player, and I think critiquing their play is not very productive. The coaches know the strengths and weaknesses of each player better than any fan. Whether they succeed or fail is because of the judgement of the coaches, and that is the way it suppose to be. I never see a lack of effort of any player throughout my 20 plus years of following Rainbow volleyball. Just support the team and coaches. Go Bows!!

  10. H-Man October 11, 2016 8:20 pm

    Didn’t see strong middle attack against LBS. Too much tinkering with Iosia?

  11. HawaiiMongoose October 11, 2016 8:45 pm

    For Dave to at least be open to making changes is reassuring. It reminds me that no one hates losing more than he does, especially to LBSU.

  12. Harold October 11, 2016 8:48 pm

    My ideal lineup

    Opp Taylor
    Setter Iosia/Huggins Only way to get better blocking is 6-2
    MB Maglio, Mitchem, Burns subs if left hitter needed
    Left Castillo, Greeley and Mitchem if needed
    Libero Kahakai
    D/S Smith
    Serving specialist Anderson

    That’s the only way to get more blocking and at least some tips so more digs.
    Both setters are great diggers, and having Kahakai, Taylor and Smith with them gives a great defense.

  13. Ki October 11, 2016 9:28 pm

    They need an attacking setter. I was hoping Dave would have insert Kendra for Iosia in the front row too add another attacking option (like the long beach state setter).

  14. Not an Expert October 11, 2016 11:34 pm

    Lose and all positions up for grabs. Sounds familiar, I swear this has happened before.

    The Wahine is doing good. They will make the tournament. More than likely not as a host. LB played a little better and won.

    As we all know and stated the left side hitting position is the last piece of the puzzle to have the Wahine running on all cylinders. Current left side players lack that it factor. In addition the defense and passing needs to be spot on when playing good teams.

    I believe there are players that can play the back row better than those playing now. Understand the substitution rules plays into this situation, not allowing the coach flexibility. Coaches need to just figure the best scenario and take that chance and hope they can take commanding early lead in a set.

    One thing is for certain the coaches need to implement more plays that offer faster lower sets. Need to keep the other team off balance and thinking. It appears the sets are going higher in turn making the time getting to the hitter slower and allowing the defense to set up. Not only the opposing blocker but the back row players that can take a position in the back court and increase their odds in getting a hand on the ball, thus increasing their odds for success.

    I say this because the Wahine will always run into a team that will stop them who has good players to execute their defense because of the time given them by this high and slow approach. Implementing fast sets will give Hawaii a better chance when playing the better teams keeping there opponents thinking and off balance.

  15. warriorwahine October 12, 2016 12:11 am

    ok so everybody all starters are relieved until further notice so says dave. where have we heard that before?

    btw cindy you said they would of dropped in rpi anyways even if they beat the beach. but question is how much they drop less, if any, had they had beaten the beach? (i noticed beach dropped despite winning against a ranked team.)

    13. that was also an issue, they didnt try koelsch to attack as setter since she is very deceptive (and i think should match up to size, big setter to big setter/player, considering iosia did comparably get tooled off the block the most times.) i think the beach libero would of dug it had iosia attacked which i think did happen a few times and it was dug. iosia only got the kill when she jousts at the net (shoved it over, especially that one against 3 bigger girls.)

  16. Sickman Fraud October 12, 2016 3:00 am

    Perhaps a question for Cindy. Is the backrow D and passing better in practice than in actual games? Seems that Coach Shoji always has a negative comment about them and yet the same personnel is used.
    Also who becomes the starting libero if Kahakai cannot play?

  17. Hot October 12, 2016 3:53 am

    Emma Smith needs to be given a look at libero. Or at least play three rotations for Granato. I’m not sure why he has been insisting on Granato as a six-rotation player. She is not. Not at this time. In the LBSU match, it wasn’t until the third set or so that he started using Smith (who has been playing as a server for the MB) for Granato. And, please, use Koelsch more. She was instrumental in some key victories last year. Her role this year (after trying to fill in for Taylor at OPP) has been greatly diminished.

    My lineup would be:
    S – Iosia (Koelsch for blocking/setting, Ross for attacking in a 6-2 sub)
    OPP – Taylor (Koelsch for a 6-2 sub)
    MB – Maglio, Mitchem
    OH – Castillo (Greeley)
    OH – Granato (Smith)
    L – Kahakai
    Anderson, Guinasso or Ponce for the serving role.

    If Kahakai is unable to play, Smith should be the libero. Maybe Greeley.

    I disagree with the suggestion that Greeley should sit. She’s not 100 percent and she’s not perfect in the back row, but she’s their best DS now.

  18. andy October 12, 2016 4:48 am

    The scouting report on UH hasn’t changed since last year – serve them hard and target the OH1. With all the big offensive weapons UH has this year, the sometimes-overlooked Greeley has really shown her value as a solid 6 rotation player now that she’s not 100%.

  19. islandman October 12, 2016 8:57 am

    Sounds like Dave, on the Curran show today, will try Annie on the left, with Casey and Burns in the middle. But Dave said the passing and defense, etc. have to improve. Tiff said if Annie goes to the left she would have to be able to receive and pass, something she isn’t used to.

  20. Andrew October 12, 2016 10:16 am


    That’s the same scouting report for nearly every team in the country. You serve them tough to take them out of system, eliminate any threat in them middle and force them to make plays. Sure they struggled against LBSU but even as they struggled they had a chance to win the match. I haven’t closely watched LBSU this season but it seems they played their best match of the season. I am confident that UH will be ready for their rematch and it will be a completely different result. I do also think that until Greeley comes back fully in the front row, and Granato becomes a little more consistent that Mitchem is needed on the outside. Yes of course her natural position is MB but especially when passing is not on point enough, she will get more touches on the outside. It would be a waste to have her in the front row as a middle, not getting any sets because of a lack of accurate passing.

  21. LanaiBoy October 12, 2016 10:40 am

    It’s false to say that Nikki Taylor lacks sufficient experience on the left. In reality one third of her four year career has been spent on the left; the lefts also has experience on the right. That’s is how Dave Shoji uses his outsides flopping them from left to right and vice versa. Annie Mitchem has had a lots of experience on the outside in her junior college years. What Hawaii loses is Nikki’s blocking on the right. The vast majority of teams are heavily left-side dependent for their offense. Hawaii’s lack of a CONSISTENT terminator at this position is an obvious weakness that has been mentioned ad infinitum this year. The time to experiment is now, before the post season. It will be hard to keep Hawaii out of the NCAA tournament this year. Making needed changes now will allow Hawaii to be more competitive. So Coach, make the changes you believe are needed!

  22. rabbit ears October 12, 2016 10:47 am

    Surprised that coach would want to swap Casey and Annie. They both look more comfortable as they are. The passing rotation and setting is where work is required.
    Norene has taken a step back from the beginning of the season.

  23. Andy October 12, 2016 11:14 am

    20. Agree about receiving being key for every team. What I meant was that for UH in particular, many would say it is the weakest aspect of this team relative to its performance in other areas. Last year many fans blameed it on the particular OH1, but this year a new OH1 and exact same problem. I think Kalei is like the employee who isn’t as flashy as the others or first in line for promotion, but whose value is more appreciated when she’s not there.

  24. kahuna October 12, 2016 11:37 am

    Moving Annie to the left still does not remedy our passing problems so I’m not sure about the move. From what I can tell from attending games, Annie does very well on the left in system. Even though she can jump thru the roof and hits hard, she does not have the experience there to terminate at a consistent level on broken plays. I doubt Annie can all of a sudden become a decent passer. It takes tons and tons of reps to be able to master the art of passing.

    The move also takes Annie away from her blocking. If she is on the left and our opponents have little or NO consistent right side attack then Annie will be a non-factor blocking wise. There is also the question of whether Annie is a good enough digger to pick up a lot of the shots coming her way since she will be in the line of fire most of the night.

    Shoji is rightfully concerned with the teams offense but I cringe when he takes players away from their “comfort zone” and put them in different spots just to clean up some issues.

    Now is NOT the time to experiment contrary to what # 21 suggest. The BIG WEST has no post season tourney. If UH loses two more matches, they are in trouble of not making post season so I don’t know where he get the idea of now is the time to fool around with the lineup. Now is the time to correct the mistakes.

    Try making Smith the libero, try taking Granato out of the passing rotation, try changing your substitutional patterns etc… No need panic and go crazy and goof up the team chemistry.

  25. connor October 12, 2016 12:07 pm

    #24 Moving Annie to LS does not solve passing problems, but it does allow her to get the 30 swings at LS that are going to Granato, who cannot get any kind of good kill percentage. Annie is wasted in the middle unless the passing problems are solved. you know that a bad pass takes the middle out of the options. I would put Granato on the bench and take my chances with Annie and Nikki in the backrow, with DSs and Kahakai.

  26. Bleachercoach October 12, 2016 12:34 pm

    #24….You hit the problem, “BULLSEYE!”.
    I would not start Granato. IMHO she is not the best 6 players on the court at one time. She would be a great change up LS
    coming off the bench if needed. We got the height, let’s start the height.

  27. kahuna October 12, 2016 1:20 pm

    Yes I know a bad pass would take Annie out oh the equation but what about the other aspects of the game you taking away with Annie on the left? You lose her blocking and you lose the potent offensives threat of the stepout and slide. A left side dominated team is not reaaly great team…..if you don’t have an all American type out there. Dave is trying to make UH a left sided team by moving an AA RS hitter and potential All Conference MB into those LS spot. Should have made the move at years start. Too late in the game IMHO.

    We had passing issues last season too. Did Dave move Olivia Magill outside to give her 39 swings?

  28. connor October 12, 2016 1:36 pm

    Kahuna: this is the analysis i use: is Mitchem on the LS in place of Granato a bigger help than what we lose in the middle without Mitchem but with Castillo? I don’t think that it is close. The team is better overall as I have faith that Castillo can do the job in the middle and that Granato cannot do the job on the LS.

  29. hollycow October 12, 2016 2:07 pm

    We’re talking about moving Mitchem to the left, but what about the second leftside hitter position. Sibley isn’t getting it done either. Mitchem and Castillo on the leftsides and Burns with Maglio.

  30. Cubicle1126 October 12, 2016 2:36 pm

    taylor and mitchem on the outside is an interesting proposition. if this were done, both would be primary passers, at least on a part time basis. taylor likely has the better all around game to be a full time primary passer. but neither have really had to do it in their college careers so far, at least not in any significant capacity.

    would they put ross at opposite? she came here to be a DS. so would she be a passing right-side hitter? is she even ready to be a primary passer at the D1 level?

  31. Rabbit ears October 12, 2016 3:29 pm

    Even though Granato is under size. She has a cannon. Imho she needs to come out when rotating to back. Not sure why coach says she needs to play six rotations? Maybe the amount of substitutions they have?

  32. AlexM October 12, 2016 3:46 pm

    I tend to agree with kahuna for all the reasons stated. However, the coaches have probably tried various combinations of players in practice and may feel Annie on the left is their strongest lineup. I think she may end up back at MH, but they want her ready to play OH, just in case they need her there in post season. Unfortunately, we won’t know if this experiment is successful until the rematch with LBS. Annie looked good against average teams, but struggles against better teams.

    I hope other players, like Koelsch, Ross and Smith (maybe at libero for a set), also see more court time.

  33. Cindy Luis October 12, 2016 4:16 pm

    People complain when they don’t try to fix things.
    People complain when they try to fix things.
    I seriously doubt if Taylor moves left but, as someone pointed out, she hits left in one rotation. I would;t she takes a third of the swings from there only because she doesn’t get set that often on the left.
    but they do need more production from the left. Neither L1 or L2 is getting it done.

    as for the RPI, i don’t know how much they would have fallen if they had beaten The Beach. The problem is they don’t have any matches left that are going to help them move up significantly, even if they win out.

    and as for the libero, it is Kahakai. Smith said she aspires to be the libero after Kahakai graduates.
    new thread up.


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