Shoji inducted into volleyball Hall of Fame
By Fred Guzman
On a night that University of Hawaii volleyball coach Dave Shoji was inducted into the Hall of Fame during ceremonies held in Kansas City, the stage was set for a showdown between Penn State and California for the women’s national title.
Penn State will play for a fourth straight national title after sweeping Texas. Cal also advanced with a sweep at the expense of Pac-10 rival USC, reaching the final for the first time.
Although his team didn’t go as far as it did the season before, when it reached the Final Four, three of Shoji’s players received national recognition.
Rainbow Wahine junior outside hitter Kanani Danielson was named a first-team All American for the second year in a row. Sophomore middle blocker Brittany Hewitt earned second-team honors and senior setter Dani Mafua again received honorable mention.
Danielson, who earlier was named WAC player of the year for the second time, was ranked among the nation’s leaders in kills, averaging 4.59 per game. Not bad for someone who measures a mere 5-foot-11 in a sport increasingly dominated by much taller athletes.
The 6-foot-3 Hewitt led the country in blocks in addition to averaging 2.3 kills per set while hitting .365.
SALAS HONORED: Greg Salas, All-America. Has a nice ring, doesn’t it? The senior slotback from the University of Hawaii received well-deserved recognition by his selection of The Associated Press All-America third team.
He’s the first UH player to receive a similar honor since quarterback Colt Brennan and receiver Davone Bess were named to The AP third team in 2007, following Hawaii’s Sugar Bowl season.
Salas has put up some dazzling numbers in helping UH to a 10-3 regular-season, a share of the WAC title, a No. 24 ranking and a berth in the Dec. 24 Sheraton Hawaii Bowl at Aloha Stadium.
Salas leads the nation in reception yardage with 1,675 and second in total catches with 106. He’s also on track to break single-season school marks in both categories, needing just three catches and 19 yards against Tulsa in the upcoming bowl game to set new standards. He’s already Hawaii’s career leader in reception yardage with 4,131.
NA KOA IKAIKA:The last time Garry Templeton was seen at Iron Maehara Stadium was as manager of the Chico Outlaws, who went on to defeat Maui’s Na Koa Ikaika for the Golden Baseball League title. The next time the former major-legue all-star appears on the Valley Island, it will be as the skipper of the Maui team. Templeton succeeds Cory Snyder, who recently became hitting coach for the Double-A affiliate of the Seattle Mariners.
PREP ROUNDUP: Baldwin and Seabury Hall will square off tonight in the semifinals of the St. Anthony Invitational basketball tournament. Baldwin advanced by beating Campbell 64-35 behind Tim Pang’s 15 points. Phelan Pagaon’s 18 led Seabury to a 55-35 romp past Hilo. In other opening round games, Corona of California defeated King Kekaulike 54-29 and Kealakehe pulled away for a 68-50 win over St. Anthony to set up the other semifinal matchup.
In MIL action, the Lahainaluna girls continued to romp past league opponents. Their latest victim was Kamehameha, which suffered a 66-15 loss to the defending state Division-I champions.
The Lahainaluna Invitational features a number of mainland teams. Today’s schedule: MolokaI versus Mission Viejo of California at 9 a.m., Heritage Woods of British Columbia versus Socaster of South Carolina at at 10:30 a.m., and Pitt Meadows of British Columbia versus Maranatha of California at 7 p.m.