Wednesday, November 20, 2002



Wahine dominate

7 Hawaii players make the first
or second team and Willoughby
is the Player of the Year

By Grace Wen

Hawaii's shelf of postseason awards got a lot heavier yesterday.

Seven players added to the Rainbow Wahine collection as No. 2 Hawaii dominated the Western Athletic Conference postseason awards.

No full-time Hawaii starter was left off the list of WAC honorees. The Wahine placed the most players in program history on the all-conference teams since joining the WAC in 1996.

For the seventh straight year, the conference player of the year award belongs to Hawaii. Junior Kim Willoughby repeated as the WAC's Player of the Year. The All-American hit .397 in WAC play and averaged 6.06 kills per game.

Willoughby's newly blond counterpart, Lily Kahumoku, was the 2000 Player of the Year and a first-team selection this year. Kahumoku sat out last season for personal reasons but demonstrated that she hadn't lost any of her game. The All-American blasted 5.45 kills a game and hit a very efficient .373 to complement Willoughby.

"I think when she dyed her hair blond, I thought she lost (the award)," Willoughby joked. "Honestly, I thought it was going to be Co-Players of the Year. I don't think I did anything she didn't do and I don't think she did anything I didn't do. It should be shared."

Kahumoku didn't have much to say about the awards in general except that "everyone on our team, had they played on any other team, would be a first-team All-WAC selection."

Which is probably true.

The league's coaches vote on the awards and are not allowed to choose their own players.

"They understand the type of players we have," Hawaii coach Dave Shoji said. "We're pleased to get these individual awards. I don't think anybody dwells on it or anybody expects to get it."

Despite sharing the position, both Wahine setters were recognized. Senior Margaret Vakasausau earned first-team recognition and senior Jennifer Carey was named to the second team for the third time in her career.

Middle blocker Lauren Duggins was also a first-team selection after being named to the WAC second team in 2001.

Even junior Karin Lundqvist, who has missed Hawaii's last six matches since tearing her anterior cruciate ligament on Nov. 1 at Nevada, was a second-team selection.

Libero Melissa Villaroman was named to the second team.

Fresno State's Lindy Vivas, a Punahou graduate, was the Coach of the Year after guiding the Bulldogs to a 22-5 regular- season record. It was the third WAC Coach of the Year award for Vivas.

Nevada's Salaia Salavea picked up the Freshman of the Year award, a first for the Wolf Pack.

The Rainbow Wahine travel to Reno tomorrow for the WAC tournament. Top-seeded Hawaii faces eighth seed Louisiana Tech on Friday at 10 a.m. Hawaii time.


First Team

Setters: Whitney Arena, Fresno State, So.; Margaret Vakasausau, Hawaii, Sr.
Outside hitters: Kristen Fenton, Fresno State, So.; Lily Kahumoku, Hawaii, Jr.; Rebeca Pazo, Rice, So.; Kim Willoughby, Hawaii, Jr.
Middle blockers: Lauren Duggins, Hawaii, Jr.; Carrie Hartt, Fresno State, Jr.; Java Johnson, Fresno State, Sr.; Leslie Lasiter, SMU, Sr.; Michelle More, Nevada, Sr.; Stephanie Pascucci, San Jose State, Sr.

Second Team

Setters: Jennifer Carey, Hawaii, Sr.; Jill Couwenhoven, Nevada, Sr., Lia Mora, Louisiana Tech, So.
Outside hitters: Jennifer Abbruzzesse, UTEP, Jr.; Christy Burnett, Fresno State, Sr.
Middle blockers: Briana Cook, Rice, Sr.; Rebecca Kainz, Rice, So.; Karin Lundqvist, Hawaii, Jr.; Salaia Salavea, Nevada, Fr.
Right-side hitter: Cristine Sant'Anna, Louisiana Tech, Jr.
Liberos: Sarah Davis, UTEP, Sr.; Melissa Villaroman, Hawaii, Jr.

Player of the Year: Kim Willoughby, Hawaii
Freshman of the Year: Salaia Salavea, Nevada
Coach of the Year: Lindy Vivas, Fresno State

UH Athletics

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