Wahine Tested But Advance in NCAA's

FT. COLLINS, Colo. - The No. 2 University of Hawai`i Rainbow Wahine (29-0) defeated the Colorado Buffs (14-14) 24-30, 30-22, 30-20 and 30-24 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament at Moby Arena Thursday.

Susie Boogaard led the way offensively with 16 kills and a .387 hitting percentage. Tara Hittle had a great homecoming match, hitting .300 with 12 kills while Victoria Prince added 11 kills and nine blocks. Kanoe Kamana`o had another great all-around match, finishing with 49 assists, 14 digs and five blocks while Teisa Fotu played well at libero with 10 digs and two aces. Juliana Sanders also played well, putting away seven kills and five blocks. Colorado jumped out to a 7-3 advantage early in the first game on the strength of a five-point run. But the Rainbow Wahine answered right back with a 7-1 spurt, going up 10-8. The two teams traded points before a 4-0 CU run gave them a 15-13 lead at the media timeout. Hawai`i used a four-point swing to take the lead back at 19-18. But that was the last edge UH would have as Colorado ended game one with a 12-5 run to take it 30-24. The Buffs hit .395 in the first game to UH's .219. Hawai`i came out fired up in the second game, scoring the first five points and nine of the first 11 to force an early timeout by CU Head Coach Pi`i Aiu with the score at 9-2. The Buffs responded as Amber Nu`u put away two kills in a four-point run to cut it back to 9-6. But UH kept pushing with a couple of 5-0 runs and a big 4-0 run late to hold a 28-17 edge late. CU would fight it off, but it wasn't nearly enough as the Rainbow Wahine were able to take game two 30-22. CU stayed in it for a while in the third game before the Rainbow Wahine caught fire, running off 10 of the next 12 points to go up 23-14. UH then could just cruise to victory, taking game three 30-20. Hawai`i hit a blistering .485 in the third game with 21 kills and just five team errors. The Buffs looked for the comeback in game four as consecutive kills by Lara Bossow capped a four-point run to put CU up 8-6. But Hawai`i responded with a couple of quick four-point runs, putting UH up 16-12. The lead stayed around four points until Kari Gregory got into the act, whacking two kills and a block to put UH up 26-20. Hittle was then able to put the Buffs away, scoring the last two Rainbow Wahine points to give them the game 30-24. Hawai`i now awaits the winner of the Colorado State-Purdue match in the second round of the NCAA Tournament tomorrow at 7 p.m. at Moby Arena.

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