HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Rainbow Wahine know, their match Friday night against Cal Poly will be the most pivotal of the 2017 season. The Mustangs are the current league leader and with another win over U.H. they can all but guarantee themselves the Big West title - which could have major postseason implications for Hawaii.
Last time the two teams met, U.H. went up two sets on the 'Stangs in Manoa, only to drop the final three, and ultimately the match.Now, head coach Robyn Ah Mow-Santos and company say they're well aware that their run at a postseason berth could be determined in San Luis Obispo tonight.
"I'm just going to treat it like a normal game," Ah Mow-Santos said earlier this week. "But, you know, everybody knows it is probably going to define our season - the rest of our postseason. So, yea it's a big game. Hopefully our girls get up to play for it."
According to Ah Mow-Santos, mental mistakes are what hurt Hawaii the most last time they faced Cal Poly. U.H. dominated the first set, winning it 25-16, before earning a hard fought win in the second frame 25-22. But the Mustangs built off a dominant third set to take Hawaii to five, where Ah Mow-Santos says her squad lost focus.
"They did their jobs in the beginning, you know, in the first two sets," said Ah Mow-Santos about her team. "I think we just went - we lost the mental part of our game. That's what I think. Whether we can take care of the other team or not? Yes, I think we can. Whether we can stay in it mentally? That's on our team right now."
The Mustangs offense relied heavily on the production of sisters, Torrey and Adlee Van Winden. The pair accounted for 38 of Cal Poly's 64 kills and four of their five blocks. Now, the Rainbow Wahine say they know they need to slow the sisters down if they want to get a different result.
"They're both really good," said senior middle, Emily Maglio. "I think, just focusing on blocking was really important and you know always pressing your left when you go outside, dropping your right on the back sets. I think they did a good job recognizing the block and getting good tips. So even when we have the block we've got to be ready for the tips."
First serve in San Luis Obispo is at 4:00 p.m. HST on Friday.