Archive for December, 2009

At the final four

December 15th, 2009
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I’m here in Tampa with our volleyball beat writer Cindy Luis to cover UH in the final four. The Wahine were in good spirits at today’s practice at the University of Tampa, but coach Dave Shoji said they’re not were they need to be emotionally yet for Thursday’s semifinal against No. 1 Penn State.

“We’re still coming off the high (of winning the regional) and the travel,” Shoji said.

But you know he’ll have the Wahine ready to play. And he doesn’t care about the volleyball world considering UH a huge underdog to undefeated, top-seeded, No. 1 Penn State.

“I think we can win this match,” he said.

See the Wednesday Star-Bulletin for Cindy’s main story and team capsules, my column and notes, as well as continuing coverage from Tampa throughout the week.

I’m also posting updates on twitter and Facebook from today’s press conference and practices.

–By Dave Reardon

Wahine to final four … Ingram takes Heisman? … Proud moment for UH … Wahine on a roll but hobbled

December 12th, 2009
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Wahine sweep Michigan, 25-23, 25-19, 25-18, on their way to the final four in Tampa.

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I like Suh, but I think Gerhart might win. Lots of folks in the office think it’s going to be Ingram. I don’t know if he was consistent as Suh and Gerhart.

Update: Ingram swept every region except the Far West. Go figure.

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It’s just a trivial oddity to the rest of the country, but Hawaii can be proud that the two head coaches in the Army-Navy game are both UH alums … Rich Ellerson and Ken Niumatalolo. This game is obviously not as significant as it was decades ago when Army was a national power, but it is still huge in the sense of tradition and pride.

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Do TVs at the stores in Ala Moana and other shopping centers get ESPNU? If so, there will be crowds of Christmas shoppers in the electronics departments this evening watching the UH volleyball team try to play its way against Michigan into the final four. This match probably wouldn’t be a problem at all for the Wahine, but they’re banged up with Amber Kaufman probably out and Aneli Cubi-Otineru dealing with that creaky knee. Hawaii got a big break since it will be the de facto home team with Stanford knocked out.

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I’m going to go out and jog a mile right now in honor of tomorrow’s marathon participants.

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–By Dave Reardon

Lyau enters Hall … Cubi-Otineru practices … Davone Bess … Hatchie to Huskies

December 7th, 2009
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Jon Lyau, who has won the Honolulu Marathon kama’aina division 15 times in the last 16 years, will be enshrined in the event’s Hall of Fame on Thursday. See our feature story on Lyau in Wednesday’s Star-Bulletin.

The marathon is Sunday morning.

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Billy Hull and I went to Hawaii volleyball practice today. The Rainbow Wahine are in good spirits. Hitter Aneli Cubi-Otineru jumped right into practice after completing a class. Apparently her achy knee is OK. Middle Amber Kaufman worked on rehabbing an abdominal strain that’s been bothering her for weeks. Both will play Friday against Illinois in the NCAA regional semifinal at Stanford.

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Spoke briefly with Davone Bess to congratulate him on his great game with the Dolphins on Sunday. He said he plans to come to Hawaii in February (especially since he plays for the team in the host city, he’ll be busy with appearances and such through the Pro Bowl and Super Bowl weeks).

This press conference clip highlights one of the reasons often overlooked for Bess’ success: His intelligence.

http://www.miamidolphins.com/aquavision/video/davone-bess-interview-12709

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Two reliable sources are telling us that Waialua lineman Micah Hatchie, one of the state’s top high school football prospects, has recently made an oral commitment to Washington.

Aiea defensive tackle Lawrence Lagafuaina has also made a “soft” oral commitment to the Huskies, according to several reports Monday.

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-By Dave Reardon

Kamehameha defense … Obama at Hawaii Bowl ? … Life’s a beach

December 4th, 2009
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Don’t know if I’ve seen a better display of defense in one half than what Kamehameha did against Kahuku in the state championship on Friday, which the Warriors won 34-21. Zero first downs in the first half for Kahuku. Granted, the Red Raiders weren’t as explosive offensively this season as usual; but still, quite an accomplishment. Combined with two blocked punts and an interception by Wave Ryder (love the name), Kamehameha took advantage of the field position and steady offense to score three unanswered first half touchdowns.

Kahuku showed heart by coming back after the break and closing to within six points, but Kamehameha just dug a little deeper and made some big offensive plays, including a key third down, 25-yard run for a first down by quarterback T.C. Campbell.

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There could be a very special guest at the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl on Christmas Eve.

President Barack Obama and his family are set to vacation in Hawaii over the holidays, and an invitation will be extended to Obama to attend the game.

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My friend Bob sent me a picture from Sunset Beach this morning. It’s of a bunch of big guys in red shorts enjoying the beach.

Sometimes the idea of a team coming to Hawaii and leaving its game on the beach and Waikiki nightspots is overplayed. But in the case of Hawaii hosting Wisconsin, it could come into play if the Badgers over-do it.

Wisconsin has a bowl game wrapped up already, Hawaii doesn’t. But the Badgers are one of the  Big Ten’s best teams and they have a huge, powerful offensive line and a huge, powerful running back.

It could be interesting.

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-By Dave Reardon