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Star-Bulletin Sports


Saturday, November 10, 2001


[ WAHINE VOLLEYBALL ]


DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Hawaii senior Tanja Nikolic smashes the ball past
Fresno State's Kara Verwey as the Wahine swept
past the Bulldogs in UH's final WAC volleyball
game of the season.



Wahine complete perfect WAC
season with sweep of Fresno


By Grace Wen
gwen@starbulletin.com

In possibly its last home match this year, the Hawaii women's volleyball team didn't put on a performance befitting a season finale.

UH But Wahine senior Tanja Nikolic did.

Nikolic hit flawlessly with six kills, hit .429 and blocked four balls as Hawaii swept Fresno State 30-23, 30-20, 30-27. A crowd of 6,183 (7,836 tickets issued) saw Hawaii win its 52nd straight Western Athletic Conference match. Fresno State is one of seven WAC teams that has never beaten Hawaii.

Despite having an off-night, Hawaii concluded another season perfect in the WAC.

"Everything just seemed a little bit off," Hawaii coach Dave Shoji said. "We better play better the next time out. We didn't have much rhythm."


DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Tanja Nikolic celebrated with her parents Zoran, left, and
Neda Nikolic after last night's match, her last at UH. She
is Hawaii's only senior this season.



The Wahine didn't bulldoze their way through the Bulldogs like they had in the previous meeting. Fresno State adjusted its lineup and had its best blocker, Shauna McQuaid, playing on the right side. The strategy worked in slowing Kim Willoughby somewhat, holding her to 22 kills with 12 errors.

"We wanted to come out here and compete," Fresno State coach Lindy Vivas, a Punahou School graduate, said. "We didn't do that at our place."

The two teams battled in Game 3, but Nikolic lifted Hawaii. Nikolic held nothing back and unleashed three kills and blocked three balls, including one that went off McQuaid's head.

The 6-foot right-side hitter, with her parents at her side, thanked the crowd for its support.

"I'm so grateful that I played volleyball here," Nikolic said. " I wish you guys saw me play more. Maybe some other time."

Hawaii's utility player the last three years has filled numerous roles and done everything but set.

"She's given us depth at every position," Shoji said. "In a pinch we could have used her back in the middle or the left if we needed."

Hawaii is the No. 1 seed in the Nov. 15-18 WAC Tournament at San Jose State. The Wahine will have a bye the first day. The top six teams have byes, while the lower four teams will be involved in a play-in. The winner of the tournament earns the conference's automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament.

The 64-team bracket will be announced on Nov. 24.

Hawaii def. Fresno State

30-23, 30-20, 30-27

BULLDOGS (13-9, 7-6)


g k e att pct. bs ba d

Arena 3 0 2 6 -.333 0 2 7

Farr 3 0 0 0 .000 0 0 6

McQuaid 3 13 5 37 .216 1 4 10

Burnett 3 12 6 33 .182 0 0 12

Johnson 3 3 6 16 -.188 0 5 0

Verwey 3 13 7 40 .150 0 1 9

Hartt 3 1 3 8 -.250 0 1 0

Fenton 2 0 0 0 .000 0 0 3

Taelman 1 0 0 0 .000 0 0 1

Totals 3 42 29 140 .093 1 13 48

WAHINE (23-4, 13-0)


g k e att pct. bs ba d

Vakasausau 2 0 0 1 .000 0 0 2

Nikolic 2 6 0 14 .429 0 4 4

Willoughby 3 22 12 49 .204 0 0 14

Tano 3 1 2 9 -.111 0 4 5

Ilustre 3 0 1 1 -1.000 0 0 6

Duggins 3 4 1 12 .250 1 1 10

Carey 2 5 0 9 .556 0 1 4

Eckmier 1 0 1 1 -1.000 0 0 0

Gustin 3 17 5 36 .333 1 0 8

Villaroman 3 1 1 2 .000 0 0 10

Totals 3 56 23 134 .246 2 10 63

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

Aces--Fresno State (3): McQuaid 3. Hawaii (2): Vakasausau, Duggins.

Assists--Fresno State (41): Arena 38, Burnett, Hartt, Fenton. Hawaii (53): Vakasausau 26, Carey 21, Nikolic 2, Willoughby, Villaroman, Duggins, Gustin.

T--1:37. Officials--Teri Jackson, Ernest Ho. A--7,836.



UH Athletics
Ka Leo O Hawaii



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