Hawai’i looks to net another WAC title | NevadaAppeal.com

Hawai’i looks to net another WAC title

Dave Price

Hawai’i will bring its No. 2 national ranking and a ton of tradition into the Western Athletic Conference Volleyball Tournament, which begins its three-day run in Reno on Friday afternoon.

The Nevada Wolf Pack, meanwhile, are hosting the WAC tournament for the third year in a row and hoping to continue a late-season hot streak that includes a near upset of the Hawaii Rainbow Wahine over the weekend in Honolulu.

Action gets under way Friday with four quarterfinal matches in the Virginia Street Gym. Hawaii (23-0 overall, 13-0 WAC), bidding for its fifth straight WAC Tournament championship, plays eighth-seeded SMU at noon, Boise State plays Fresno State at 2 p.m., Nevada plays San Jose State at 5:30 and second-seeded Rice plays Tulsa at 7:30.

The semifinals will be played at 5 and 7 p.m. on Saturday. The championship match will be played at 3 p.m. on Sunday at the Virginia Street Gym. The final is scheduled to be aired live on College Sports TV.

Nevada (18-7, 10-3) earned the tournament’s third-seed and second-place in the West Division thanks to a 10-match win streak that ended Saturday night when Hawaii stormed back from a two-set deficit to beat the Wolf Pack before a near capacity crowd of 9,875 at the Stan Sheriff Center – 27-30, 33-35, 30-20, 30-26 and 15-6. Hawai’i, ranked behind only undefeated Washington in the nation, needed five sets to beat Nevada when the two teams met in Reno on Oct. 2.

The Wolf Pack offer some local flavor with two starters who played for the Carson City-based Capital City Volleyball Club – sophomore setter Tristin Adams (Churchill County High, Fallon) and freshman outside hitter Teal Ericson (North Tahoe). Sophomore outside hitter Carly Sorensen, also from Fallon and the Capital City Volleyball Club, sees considerable playing time. Middle blocker Kellie Burton, a Galena High graduate, is one of two seniors on the Wolf Pack roster. Carson High graduate Rachael DeRiemer is listed on the roster but is redshirting.

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Adams, who averages 12.3 assists per game, earned second-team recognition and Ericson was named to the All-Freshman team on the all-conference list.

Salaia Salave’a, a 5-foot-11 junior middle blocker, celebrated her 21st birthday on Monday and a day later celebrated her selection to the All-WAC first-team for the second year in a row. Salave’a leads the Wolf Pack with an average of 4.99 kills per game and .330 attack percentage this season.

Hawai’i sophomore setter Kanoe Kamana’o added to an already long list of achievements when she was named WAC Player of the Year, the ninth straight year the Rainbow Wahine have collected that honor. Kamana’o was named WAC, Region and AVCA National Freshman of the Year in 2003, and before that was a four-time all-state player at Iolani High (Honolulu) and selected to Volleyball Magazine’s Fab 50 list. She currently leads the WAC in assists per game (13.88 average) and also ranks among the NCAA leaders.

Hawai’i has advanced to the NCAA Final Four the last two years, losing to Florida in the semifinals last year. The Rainbow Wahine defeated Nevada in the semifinals and San Jose State in the finals at last year’s WAC Tournament. The Wolf Pack lost to Hawai’i in the 2002 WAC championship match.

Capital City Volleyball Club notes … Steve George will conduct a club clinic for fifth through eighth graders on Saturday. The clinic will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Carson Middle School. Cost for the clinic is $50. For more information, go online to http://www.capitalcityvbc.com or call 241-0723 or 721-9849. The Capital City Volleyball Club’s technical director is Danny McLaughlin, who coached Whittell High to its third state championship in five years on Saturday. Whittell ended the season with a 23-1 record, losing only to a Golden Sierra (Georgetown, Calif.), ranked second among Division IV teams in California. Of the eight 1A through 4A teams that played at the NIAA State Championships Saturday at Galena High, the Warriors beat five this season – including 4A Douglas, which lost to Galena in the 4A final, and 3A champion Dayton.

Contact Dave Price at dprice@nevadaappeal.com or call 881-1220.