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Saturday, November 22, 2003



[ WAHINE VOLLEYBALL ]


Wahine win easily,
take on host
Nevada next

Hawaii sweeps Tulsa
in the first round of
the WAC tourney


RENO, Nev. >> When Lily Kahumoku learned that Hawaii would be playing Tulsa in the first round of the Western Athletic Conference tournament, the senior All-American had just two words: "Oh, good."

Kahumoku didn't make the trip to Tulsa on Oct. 25 due to a sore back. The Rainbow Wahine didn't miss their outside hitter in a quick 3-0 win over the Golden Hurricane last month.

Last night, Tulsa saw more than enough of Kahumoku at the Virginia Street Gym. The Golden Hurricane had two words about her performance in Game 3: "Not again."

Kahumoku put down nine of her match-high 19 kills and had the match-ending ace in the final game as top-seeded Hawaii swept No. 8 seed Tulsa 30-17, 30-12, 34-32 in front of a crowd of 781. The second-ranked Wahine (28-1) needed 93 minutes to end the Golden Hurricane's season at 11-16 and advance to a WAC tournament semifinal vs. host Nevada.

Hawaii puts its winning streaks of 27 in a row this season and 88 consecutive WAC matches (including tournaments) on the line against the dangerous Wolf Pack today at 5 p.m. Hawaii time. In last night's final match, the fourth-seeded Wolf Pack topped fifth-seeded Rice 30-18, 33-31, 30-20.

In the other first-round matches yesterday, SMU swept Louisiana Tech 30-25, 30-24, 30-27, and San Jose State upset Fresno State 30-25, 31-29, 29-31, 28-30, 16-14.

The Mustangs take on the Spartans in today's first semifinal (3 p.m. Hawaii time).

Tonight's second semifinal is a rematch of last year's title match, in which the Rainbow Wahine rallied to down the Wolf Pack in four. Nevada is the only WAC team to take a game off Hawaii this season, winning Game 1 when the teams met here on Nov. 6, before falling in four.

It's a chilling thought, even chillier than the temperature inside the gym last night or outside where a light snow fell.

"Nevada gave us a tough time the last time out," said Hawaii coach Dave Shoji. "They're tough at home.

"Last night, I thought we played well in the first two games. There was a natural letdown in Game 3 when we had some new people in. There was a definite possibility we were going to Game 4."

Hawaii was on cruise-control for the first two games. Right after Tulsa reached double-figures in Game 2 at 24-10, Shoji cleared his bench. Freshman reserve setter Caylie Thurlby finished the match, serving for the last two points, and connecting with Lauren Duggins and Kahumoku to end it.

The Golden Hurricane had just 12 total kills after Game 2. The Wahine had only seven hitting errors, including two in Game 2, when they hit .667 as a team.

In Game 3, against a mixed plate of Wahine starters and reserves -- and without Kim Willoughby -- the Golden Hurricane found momentum and success. Tulsa coach Matt Sonnichsen retooled his lineup as well, changing setters and using freshman Amy Meyer for the first time.

The combination worked for the Golden Hurricane, with Meyer putting away eight kills when connecting with sophomore libero-turned-setter Evyn Bandy. The teams traded leads until Tulsa caught and passed Hawaii, serving the first of three game balls at 29-28. A kill by Duggins tied it only to have Meyer give the Golden Hurricane another swing for the game at 30-29.

Kahumoku came up with a dig on Sam Rutherford's serve that fell back on Tulsa's side of the net to tie it at 30. Another kill by Meyer and another by Kahumoku knotted it at 31.

Duggins somehow popped up the ball after it hit the roof with Kahumoku putting it down, giving Hawaii its match-point serve at 32-31. Meyer tied it again and Kahumoku untied it with her 19th kill.

The Wahine senior saw her serve hit the top of the tape and roll over for the match-ending ace.

"Lily did some unexpected plays that got us the win," said Wahine setter Kanoe Kamana'o.

Willoughby had 14 kills, with just one error, in hitting .650 over two games. Duggins added 13 kills and Kahumoku 14 digs.

Meyer was Tulsa's kill leader with eight.

Shoji said he had no intention of putting the rest of his starters back in when Tulsa started to make its comeback in Game 3.

"(Alicia) Arnott and (Susie) Boogaard need to play," said Shoji. "I was going to let them play, win or lose. If we lose, then we'd go with our starting lineup (in Game 4). I thought we could win without them and we did."

Tulsa nearly pulled it off.

"We believed the whole time," said Tulsa senior Nathalia Araujo. "That's the thing about sports, anything can happen, no matter if you're the best team or the worst team."

Said Sonnichsen: "They had seven players make All-WAC, deservedly so. We had no one recognized. For a team that got no recognition, we sure did a pretty good job against the No. 2 team in the country.

"They could have folded and they didn't. Our goal for next year is to play Hawaii in the finals, not the first round."

Nevada 3, Rice 0: The Wolf Pack had hoped to be meeting Hawaii tomorrow and not today. They got ready with an intense win over the Owls.

"I love playing Hawaii," said Nevada coach Devin Scruggs. "We always seem to play our best against them, at least when we're at home. They probably see that all the time. Tulsa played their best game all season tonight."

San Jose State 3, Fresno State 2: In the biggest upset in tournament, the sixth-seeded Spartans (8-17) ousted the third-seeded Bulldogs (21-6). The result also likely eliminated Fresno State from NCAA Tournament consideration.

"I don't know if it did, but we're probably not going," said Bulldog coach Lindy Vivas. "It just wasn't our night. We struggled the whole way and the fact that it went to five is a credit to our players."

SMU 3, LaTech 0: The Mustangs (23-6) improved on their best season in school history by eliminating the Lady Bulldogs in 92 minutes.

Beth Karasek led three SMU players in double-digit kills with 12. Allison Holder added 11 and Kelly Larkan 10 for the Mustangs, winners of their last six.

Ambra Hayes led the Bulldogs with 10 kills.


Hawaii def. Tulsa
30-17, 30-12, 34-32

GOLDEN HURRICANE (11-16, WAC)

g k e att pct. bs ba d
Eaves 3 5 3 21 .095 0 1 0
Thon 2 0 0 4 .000 0 0 1
Araujo 3 2 0 6 .333 0 0 9
Rutherford 3 4 2 10 .200 0 1 0
Bailey 3 5 3 24 .083 1 0 0
Penaluna 3 7 5 19 .105 0 1 3
Meyer 1 8 2 16 .375 1 0 7
Bandy 3 1 0 2 .500 0 1 7
Marques 3 0 0 1 .000 0 0 2
Totals 3 32 15 103 .165 2 4 29

WAHINE (28-1, 14-0 WAC)

g k e att pct. bs ba d
Willoughby 2 14 1 20 .650 0 1 4
Tano 1 1 0 1 1.000 0 0 2
Kahumoku 3 19 5 34 .412 0 1 14
Kamana'o 3 4 1 7 .429 0 1 6
Gustin 2 1 3 5 -.400 0 0 0
Duggins 3 13 1 22 .545 0 2 5
Boogaard 3 2 0 3 .667 0 2 3
Lundqvist 2 4 0 5 .800 0 3 1
Arnott 2 3 2 12 .083 0 0 3
Watanabe 3 0 0 0 .000 0 0 2
Thurlby 2 0 0 0 .000 0 0 0
Villaroman 3 0 0 0 .000 0 0 5
Totals 3 61 13 109 .440 0 10 45

Key -- g: games; k: kills; e: hitting errors; att: attempts; pct.: hitting percentage; bs: block solos; ba: block assists; d: digs.
Aces -- Golden Hurricane (5): Bandy 2, Eaves, Araujo, Rutherford. Hawaii (6): Kahumoku 3, Kamana'o, Gustin, Duggins. Assists -- Golden Hurricane (30): Bandy 17, Thon 11, Rutherford, Penaluna. Hawaii (53): Kamana'o 40, Kahumoku 3, Thurlby 3, Tano 2, Duggins, Boogaard, Arnott, Watanabe, Villaroman.
T -- 1:33. Officials -- Margie Ray, Kent Kitade.


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