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Star-Bulletin Sports

Saturday, December 2, 2000

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



By Dennis Oda, Star-Bulletin
University of Hawaii sophomore Lily Kahumoku, right,
slams the ball past Utah's Lucie Turkova during last night's
action in the second round of the NCAA Women's
Volleyball Championship.

Wahine turn up the heat

Willoughby sparks Hawaii
past Utah with 19 kills in
second round of NCAA Women's
Volleyball Championship

HPU in title game

By Pat Bigold

You could feel the University of Hawaii women's volleyball team turn up the heat last night at the Stan Sheriff Center.

After disappointing their head coach in their previous three matches, the Wahine were clearly out of the doghouse last night with a 15-12 15-8, 15-8 sweep of No. 19 Utah (23-8) before 4,411 fans in the second round of the NCAA West Regional at the Stan Sheriff Center.

The victory means Hawaii (29-1) will host arch-rival Long Beach State (24-7) on Thursday night.

The 49ers, who ended Hawaii's 27-match winning streak just last weekend in Long Beach, struggled to defeat host Santa Clara, 9-15, 15-17, 15-9, 15-10, 19-17, last night in their second-round match.

"We were much more spirited and defensively we set the tone," said Hawaii head coach Dave Shoji who had been unhappy with the Wahine's lackluster sweep of Davidson the night before.

"Before the match we talked about being aggressive, and letting the bodies fly around the gym. Well, the defense looked unbelievable.

"We had a lot of intensity and a lot of spark," added Shoji. "That was about as intense as we've played this year. We were a little disappointed in our effort last night so we definitely stepped it up."

Freshman hitter Kim Willoughby led the attack with 19 kills and 12 digs -- her ninth double-double of the season.

In terms of the defense, senior left-side hitter Jessica Sudduth had a season-high 20 digs.

Sudduth made seven digs in the first game, five in the second and eight in the third.

"Nothing touched the floor with Jess tonight," said sophomore left-side hitter Lily Kahumoku, who had 15 kills. Sudduth also had 11 kills for her 10th double-double of 2000.

Junior middle blocker Veronica Lima hit for .353 with eight kills.

Shoji recalled the Wahine played at a high level in gaining five nonconference victories against ranked teams at home, but he said that energy didn't equal what he saw last night.

"You knew that if you lost early on, you had another chance," said Shoji. "But tonight it was like, man, we're looking at elimination."

Hawaii had to battle Utah throughout despite the sweep. There were 13 ties in the match.

Willoughby led the charge with 10 kills in Game 1, which had six ties and Utah hanging within one point (13-12) late.

In Games 2 and 3, Hawaii broke 7-7 ties with 8-1 runs.

"I think in Games 2 and 3, it was real close up until the eighth point but we had clutch performances," said Shoji.

"I think Sudduth got some key kills in the middle of both games. Then we started serving better and got them in a little bit of trouble. Obviously we wanted it really, really bad tonight."

Lenka Urbanova had 11 kills and Kim Turner had 10 to lead the Utes, who outblocked the Wahine, 7 1/2-5. It was the third time in four matches that Hawaii has been outblocked.

"We had a hard time stopping their right side attack," said Shoji.

"We were just Swiss Cheese on the right. We think we have a pretty good block on the left but tonight it just wasn't very good."

The Wahine outhit Utah, .297-.201.

"They won the serve-pass game and that's why they beat us," said Utah head coach Beth Launiere.

"We came out aggressive. But even in Games 2 and 3, we didn't let up at all. I think Hawaii just did some things that we couldn't match."

Launiere said she thinks Hawaii has a strong chance to make the Final Four.

"And with their freshman middle (Maja Gustin) back, they have a chance to win the championship," she said.

Gustin was an All-Western Athletic Conference selection who is sixth in the nation in blocks and leads the Wahine in hitting percentage.

Shoji said she will be back for the regionals.

"I kind of think she could've played tonight but I wanted to see if we could do without her," he said. "If she had to play hard she might have been set back. But this was a very fast-moving match, and I don't think she was ready for that type of match yet."

Kahumoku was asked how she felt about getting a rematch with Long Beach State so soon.

"Redemption would be nice," she said. "But who we play is not relevant. We know they're out to get us, and we want to go out and we want to kill them.

"We're on a mission to play in Virginia and be the national champions."

Hawaii def. Utah, 15-12, 15-8, 15-8

Utes (23-8)

Totals3 4516140.20721156

Wahine (29-1)

Totals3 62 18148.29701069

Key--g: games; k: kills; e: hitting errors; att: attempts; pct.: hitting percentage; bs: block solos; ba: block assists; d: digs.
Aces--UU (3): Bradley-Drake 2, Turkova. UH (4): Carey 2, Lima, Lee.
Assists--UU (44): Turkova 36, Snow-Richards 4, Geddes 2, Urbanova, Barton. UH (53): Carey 50, Villaroman 2, Kahumoku.
T-1:30. Officials: Tom Pingel, Bob Oshita. A--6,880.

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