Maui’s Long Helps Rainbow Wahine Sweep Duke
By MauiNow Staff
The 23rd-ranked University of Hawai’i women’s volleyball team got a boost off the bench from Maui’s Ginger Long, sweeping No. 21 Duke 25-15, 25-19, 25-17 Friday in a NCAA tournament first-round match in Seattle.
The 5-foot, 11-inch junior outside hitter stole the spotlight with her sparkling play from the moment she replaced injured starter Kalei Greeley in the first set. The former Maui Interscholastic League Division I Player of the Year from Kamehameha Maui recorded six kills, eight digs and four blocks, including two solo.
The Rainbow Wahine (22-6) will face No. 3 Washington in Saturday’s second round. The Huskies (30-2) dominated New Hampshire 25-9, 25-6, 25-18.
Hawaii and Washington will meet for the third time in five years. Washington swept Hawaii 3-0 in 2010 and eked out a 3-2 win in 2012.
“We didn’t need her to go back in . . . she’s had a bad ankle the whole season, so it’s probably a reoccurring injury,” said Hawai’i head coach Dave Shoji of Greeley’s injury at 18-10 in the first set.
Long said Coach Shoji always reminds her to “be ready,” so when her number was called Friday, she said she felt comfortable and confident.
“I was hoping she (Kalei) was going to be okay, but coach always tells me at the beginning of every match to be ready to go in. Just go in and do what I do in practice were my main thoughts.”
Long, who announced last week she would be retiring after this season, was happy to make a positive contribution on the biggest stage of the year
“Feels good to play well for my team. I had a lot of support from the entire team. It is hard for a player to come in off the bench and really gel well so our starting lineup group did a good job of really inviting me in and giving me that positive energy to feed off of.”
Sophomore Nikki Taylor and junior middle Olivia Magill each had 10 kills and Hawai’i outblocked Duke 11-5. Senior libero Sarah Mendoza had 17 of the team’s 53 digs.
Hawaii needed just 94 minutes to sweep Duke at Alaska Airlines Arena in the opening round of the 2014 NCAA Tournament. The Rainbow Wahine are now 15-0 when winning Set 1.
Emily Sklar led the Blue Devils (22-8) with a match-high 11 kills and six digs.
The ‘Bows also had a 20-7 blocking advantage.
Hawai’i got off to a great start in set one, putting down three blocks in their first six points to take a 6-3 lead. Savanah Kahakai (5 digs) came in and won three straight points off her serve as UH extended its lead to 15-9 at the media timeout.
The frustrated Blue Devils struggled at the net all match. In fact, Duke hit for a negative percentage in the opening set.
The ‘Bows kept it rolling in set two, taking an early 3-0 lead on the heels of a pair of Manu-Olevao kills. Duke would recover though and tie the set at 9-9, but Taylor responded with laser kill to put her team back in front. Former Molokai standout Kalei Adolpho spearheaded a late 4-0 run with a kill and a block as UH went on to win going away.
Hawai’i returned from intermission to beat its first top 25 team this season. In set three, the Rainbow Wahine regained control in a blink of an eye, going ahead 17-4 before easily closing out Duke.
“I thought we started to play our best volleyball last week,” Shoji said. “We had a week of really good practices. I had a good feeling we were going to come out and play well tonight and we did. We were pretty solid in every phase of the game and I thought we dominated the match. We took away what Duke likes to do and I think it is just a tribute to our players that they followed the game plan and prepared very well.
“We served tough tonight and we started to break them down a little bit. At the end I felt like they were a little shaky in the passing department. It is a lot about the serve and pass game and tonight that was true.
On the No. 3 Huskies, Shoji said: “They are a great team. What gives us some hope is that they have lost twice in the last couple weeks and they have some injuries. It gives us some hope. (Krista) Vansant is obviously the best player in the country so we have to find a way to slow her down. I like our chances. I think we are playing well and we are going to come out firing.”
Washington (30-2) hit .451 on the night with four different players hitting over .400. Saturday’s match against Hawai’i is at the Alaska Airlines Arena, beginning at 7:30 p.m. (Seattle time) and will be televised live on Pac-12 Networks.
Short Box Score (Match)
2014 Hawai’i Rainbow Wahine Volleyball
#23 Hawai’i vs #21 Duke
(Friday, Dec. 5, 2014 at Seattle, Wash.)
Hawai’i def. Duke 25-15, 25-19, 25-17
Hawai’i (22-6, 13-3 Big West) (Kills-aces-blocks) – Taylor,
Nikki 10-1-4; Magill, Olivia 10-0-5; Manu-Olevao, Tai 8-0-2; Long,
Ginger 6-1-4; Adolpho, Kalei 5-0-3; Greeley, Kalei 2-0-1; Higgins,
Tayler 1-0-1; Mendoza, Sarah 0-1-0; Totals 42-3-11.5. (Assists) –
Higgins, Tayler 36. (Dig leaders) – Mendoza, Sarah 17; Higgins, Tayler
11; Long, Ginger 8
Duke (22-8, 14-4 ACC) (Kills-aces-blocks) – Emily Sklar 11-1-0;
Jeme Obeime 9-0-2; Alyse Whitaker 4-0-2; Jordan Tucker 3-0-1; Maggie
Deichmeister 1-0-0; Christina Vucich 1-0-1; Kelsey Williams 0-1-1;
Sasha Karelov 0-1-0; Totals 29-3-4.0. (Assists) – Kelsey Williams 17.
(Dig leaders) – Sasha Karelov 13; Kelsey Williams 7
Site: Seattle, Wash. (Alaska Airlines)
Date: Dec 05, 2014 Attend: Time: 1:34
Referees: Patsy Malta, Jason Olson