Star-Bulletin Sports

Wednesday, October 17, 2001



Willoughby carrying UH

By Grace Wen

As the Hawaii volleyball team begins a critical road trip today with a match against San Diego State, the Wahine will rely heavily on Kim Willoughby to shoulder most of the hitting load.

But the condition of Willoughby's shoulder could be a concern later in the season if she continues to see as many sets.

The Western Athletic Conference Player of the Week swung her arm 112 times last weekend in UH's matches against Southern Methodist and Texas-El Paso.

At Monday's practice, Willoughby was joking about needing to have her entire arm replaced. She may need to, considering the number of swings she's taken this season.

Hawaii's go-to player has seen over a third of the team's sets. Her 755 attack attempts are already 112 more swings than she had all of last season.

The 6-foot sophomore is one of the main reasons UH leads the WAC in hitting. Her 36-kill performance against UTEP were the most kills by any WAC player this season.

"There's not been a huge block against her (lately) but what she's doing is just phenomenal," Shoji said. "She's getting kills different ways. It's not all power. It's roll shot, off-speed, line shot, corner shot. She's becoming an accomplished hitter.

"We'll cut down her reps during the week for hitting. She is getting a lot of swings. I knew this was going to happen but the nature of rally score is every time she puts the ball down, it's a point for us. We're trying to get 90 points. If she gets 35 ... we only have 55 to go."

As Hawaii's best option, the setters won't stop going to her. The ability to finesse the ball means less wear and tear on her shoulder but a more balanced offense would help Hawaii and Willoughby more.

Note: Hawaii's match against Fresno State on Saturday will not be broadcast on the radio due to time conflicts with the Warriors' football game at Tulsa.

UH Athletics
Ka Leo O Hawaii

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