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Star-Bulletin Sports


Saturday, November 25, 2000


W A H I N E _ V O L L E Y B A L L



UH


Pyramid scheme:
Long Beach State
next for Wahine

UH beats Cal Poly in four at
volleyball invitational, but
loses middle blocker


By Pat Bigold
Star-Bulletin

LONG BEACH, Calif. -- The University of Hawaii women's volleyball starters have taken a beating this season, but so far they haven't been beaten.

They've overcome ranked opposition at the Stan Sheriff Center without freshman right-side hitter Kim Willoughby. They've won Western Athletic Conference matches on the road and at home without kill leader Lily Kahumoku. And team captain Jessica Sudduth has played all season with a right thumb that needs surgery.

But tonight Hawaii (27-0) must face No. 16 Long Beach State (21-7) in front of a loud 49ers' home crowd, and 6-foot-3 freshman middle blocker Maja Gustin is not expected to play.

If the Wahine stay unbeaten this time, we'll know just how deep this team really is.

Gustin is the NCAA's fifth leading blocker and has been a major reason why many believe Hawaii will make it to the final four next month.

Hawaii has not played a ranked team since it took consecutive matches at home against Pepperdine on Sept. 22 and 23.

More importantly, the Wahine (No. 2 in AVCA/USA Today, No. 1 in Volleyball Magazine) have not played a ranked team on the road before today.

Gustin limped painfully off the court with a sprained right ankle in Game 4 of Hawaii's 15-9, 12-15, 15-2, 15-9 victory over unranked Cal Poly (15-11) last night in the Long Beach State Invitational at The Pyramid.

Wahine head coach Dave Shoji said he would replace Gustin, whom he classified as a "doubtful" starter, with 5-11 junior Tanja Nikolic.

"We're going to have to sit down and come up with some matchups that we can work," Shoji said.

Nikolic has been an outside hitter this season but did start once at middle blocker, her primary position in 1999.

"Certainly putting in a 5-11 and losing a 6-3 is not good for us," Shoji said. "You can get away with that against smaller teams but Long Beach is probably the biggest team in the country. We just have to figure something out."

The 49ers have an outside hitter, Tayyiba Haneef, who stands 6-7. She had 24 kills and hit .553 in Long Beach State's 14-16, 15-5, 15-8, 15-9 victory last night over unranked Oregon State (16-15).

Last night against Cal Poly, less than a week before the NCAA tournament, the Wahine had a wake-up call that reminded them the WAC is not the real world of Division I volleyball.

After slicing through 35 straight conference game wins, the Wahine lost for the first time since Oct. 14 in Nevada. They were also outblocked (12.5-6) for the first time since that date and hit below .289, well under their .308 average.

"During the WAC season, our hitters pretty much had their own way," said Shoji. "But tonight they (Cal Poly) had some good line blockers."

As for the Mustangs' Melanie Hathaway, who had 25 kills in a sensational performance, Shoji said the Wahine just didn't lock on to her early enough.

"She kept coming out and hitting in different spots and we just didn't track her very well."

Hathaway was second in the Big West in kills, averaging 4.49 per game.

Kahumoku had 20 kills to lead five Hawaii players in double-digit kills. Sudduth had 14 kills and 15 digs for her eighth double-double of the season and third in four matches.

Gustin (13 kills), sitting after the match with her ankle iced and taped to a plastic support, expressed confidence in Nikolic.

"It's not all height that counts," she said. "You must be smart player, and experience counts. Tanja will take care. She's smart girl."

NOTES:

If Hawaii is chosen to host a regional, tickets will go on sale Dec. 5. The regionals would be held Dec. 7 and 8.

Hawaii def. Cal Poly, 15-9, 12-15, 15-2, 15-9

Mustangs (15-11 overall)


g k e att pct. bs ba d
Sigel 4 0 0 2 .000 0 0 9
Lien 4 13 3 24 .417 0 4 2
K. O’Halloran 4 2 2 19 .000 0 1 6
C. O’Halloran 4 4 4 17 .000 0 5 8
Duncan 4 6 3 29 .103 2 0 14
Hathaway 4 25 8 63 .270 1 3 13
Eilers 4 0 0 0 .000 0 0 5
Benesh 1 0 0 0 .000 0 1 0
Lowry 3 0 0 0 .000 0 0 0
Douglas 3 1 2 7 -.143 0 3 0
Hubbard 3 0 0 0 .000 0 0 1
Bailey 2 2 2 9 .000 0 2 0
Totals 4 53 24 170 .171 3 19 58

Wahine (27-0 overall)


g k e att pct. bs ba d
Willoughby 4 11 4 25 .280 0 0 14
Carey 4 3 2 7 .143 0 2 12
Sudduth 4 14 3 36 .306 1 1 15
Kahumoku 4 20 9 48 .229 0 1 7
Lima 4 11 4 18 .389 0 2 15
Gustin 4 13 2 26 .423 1 1 2
Vakasausau 3 0 0 0 .000 0 0 1
Nikolic 2 2 1 3 .333 0 1 0
Gomez-Tukuafu 3 0 0 1 .000 0 0 6
Lee 2 0 1 2 -.500 0 0 3
Villaroman 2 0 0 0 .000 0 0 4
Totals 4 74 26 166 .289 2 8 79

Key--g: games; k: kills; e: hitting errors; att: attempts; pct.: hitting percentage; bs: block solos; ba: block assists; d: digs.

Aces--CP (3): Duncan 2, C. O'Halloran. UH (4): Willoughby 2, Sudduth, Kahumoku.

Assists--CP (49): C. O'Halloran 43, Duncan 4, K. O'Halloran, Hathaway. UH (65): Carey 54, Willoughby 5, Vakasausau 3, Lima 2, Gustin.

T--2:12. Officials: Ken Taylor, Syd Church. A--1,726.



UH Athletics
Ka Leo O Hawaii



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