No. 3 Hawai'i Eliminates No. 15 USC In Second Round Of NCAA Tournament

Dec. 5, 2009

LOS ANGELES -- Kanani Danielson had 23 kills and 11 digs in a .409 performance (23-5-44) as the No. 3 Hawai'i Rainbow Wahine eliminated the No. 15 USC Women of Troy, 3-1 (25-20, 25-18, 16-25, 27-25), in the second round of the 2009 NCAA Women's Volleyball Tournament. Hawai'i, which entered the tournament as the No. 12 seeded team, improved to 30-2 on the season and advances to the Stanford Regional next weekend to play Illinois in a regional semifinal.

Sophomore middle blocker Lauren Williams (Houston, Texas/Stratford HS) led USC (22-10) with 14 kills and tied a career high with eight blocks. Williams finished the night with a .407 percentage (14-3-27).

Amber Kaufman aided the Rainbow Wahine with 12 kills while Aneil Cubi-Otineru had 14 kills and 12 digs. Dani Mafua recorded 54 assists, 10 digs and three block assists while Brittany Hewitt had three kills and seven blocks (one solo, six assisted).

Hawai'i was able to keep USC outside hitter Jessica Gysin and Alex Jupiter in check, forcing both Trojans to hit negative for the match. Jupiter had just five kills with nine digs and five blocks (three solo), but hit negative .103 while Gysin had two kills, 11 digs and three blocks (two solo) while hitting minus .071. Kendall Bateman had 31 assists, six digs and four block assists as USC outblocked Hawai'i by a 17-9 margin. Kimmee Roleder and Audrey Eichler finished with eight kills each for the Trojans.

USC opened the match with a 6-2 run, but it was the middle of the set that was the key for Hawai'i. After Danielson tied it at 9-9, the Rainbow Wahine took advantage of four errors by the Trojans with seven straight points for the commanding 15-9 lead. USC got three back, but a service error swung the momentum back to Hawai'i. Another hitting error made it a 5-2 run for the Rainbow Wahine to lead, 20-14. Williams hit a solo block before UH came back with two more points. USC had a late run with three straight points before Williams was called for interfering with the set as UH won the first set.

Hewitt and Mafua blocked back-to-back shots in the second set as UH scored six straight points for the 6-2 score. Williams brought USC within two at 8-6, but Kaufman and Cubi-Otineru paced a streak of five straight points for the 13-6 advantage. Roleder's service ace later made it 16-11 in favor of Hawai'i before Stephanie Ferrell hit one off the right side as another mini run of four straight points pushed the Hawai'i lead to nine at 20-11. Kaufman finished with a flurry of kills, adding three to her total as the Rainbow Wahine took the 2-0 advantage in the match. UH hit a match-high .483 in the second set.

USC switched its blocking in the third set and forced 14 hitting errors by Hawai'i. Four straight attack errors by UH comprised seven straight points as back-to-back blocks by Eichler and Roleder made it an 11-4 lead. A Hawai'i service error made it 18-9 for USC and another four straight points later gave the Trojans their lone set win on the evening.

In the final set, Eichler went back-to-back for a 5-5 tie. Danielson hit the hat trick with three straight kills and Cubi-Otineru added two more for a 12-8 advantage. Kaufman put Hawai'i up 14-10 before Williams figured in five straight points with two kills and two block assists as USC took the 15-14 lead. At 19-19, UH looked to put the match away with four straight points for the 23-19 score. Jupiter stuffed Kaufman for the solo block, followed by another UH attack error. Jupiter capped the streak of five straight points with another solo block to give set point to USC, but Danielson delivered from the back row to send the set into extra play at 24-24. Williams gave USC its second set point, but Cubi-Otineru tied it. Hewitt and Cubi-Otineru then stuffed Roleder and Williams on back-to-back attempts to secure the victory.

Notes: Hawai'i was the designated home team in tonight's match...this was the second straight year that Hawai'i and USC met in the second round of the NCAA Tournament as Hawai'i swept USC (25-21, 25-18, 25-22) last year at the Galen Center...Alex Jupiter finishes the season with 522 kills, placing her fourth on USC's single-season list...Jupiter's 1,281 attempts place her second on USC's single-season list...Jupiter's 608.0 points for the season places her third on USC's single-season list...Kendall Bateman finished the season with 1,431 assists (12.44 aps), putting her fourth on USC's single-season list...Alli Hillgren finishes her USC career with 1,485 digs, placing her fourth on the school's career list...Jessica Gysin finished her USC career with 1,514.0 points, the second-most in school history behind Keao Burdine (1,689.5 from 2001-04)... Gysin recorded two solo blocks and broke into USC's career list for solo blocks...with 89 career solo blocks, Gysin finishes tied for eighth all-time with Meika Wagner (1991-94) and Megan McCallister (1987-90).

USC	  20-18-25-25UH	  25-25-16-27

Records: Hawai'i (30-2), USC (22-10)Kills: Kanani Danielson 23 (UH), Lauren Williams 14 (USC)

Team: USC UH1 .000 .2352 .171 .4833 .214 -.1004 .044 .060Match .097 .137

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