Star-Bulletin Sports

Monday, September 27, 1999

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

Wahine unscathed
after toughest stretch

They open up their defense
of their WAC title Friday
with Texas Christian

By Cindy Luis


All the land mines have been avoided so far -- five ranked teams sidestepped in 11 matches. Now the goal is to avoid complacency while waiting for another Top 25 test.

The third-ranked Hawaii women's volleyball team emerged from the first third of its schedule with a few scratches but no major dents. The Wahine (11-0) go into the repair shop briefly this week before opening up defense of their WAC title Friday with Texas Christian (6-8).

Hawaii remained one of only four unbeaten Top 25 teams with Saturday's 16-14, 15-4, 15-7 sweep of No. 23 Loyola Marymount. The Wahine also upped their home winning streak to 26 in front of 7,108 (8,264 tickets) at the Stan Sheriff Center.

"Now it's time for us to work on becoming better as a team,'' said Hawaii sophomore Veronica Lima. "We are going into conference and we have to show we are the better team every time we play. The only way to do that is to play better.''

After surviving a five-game scare against LMU on Friday, Hawaii played much better Saturday. The two concerns - passing and LMU's 6-foot-6 Sarah McFarland - disappeared after the Wahine rallied to pull out Game 1.

Hawaii's block frustrated McFarland, the nation's kill leader, who had 30 kills on Friday. She put down 16 on Saturday, including just one in Game 3, and hit .089 (she was averaging 8.49 kills a game and hitting .322 before Friday).

Wahine senior Heather Bown led the team's 12-block effort with five block assists. She also finished with a match-high 17 kills; freshman Lily Kahumoku added 15 kills, including the game winners in Games 1 and 3; Jessica Sudduth added 14 kills and 11 digs.

Hawaii gave up 13 aces on Friday but just two Saturday. Lima said it was a matter of concentration.

"They served just the same, but we were much better with our passing,'' she said.

"We finally got into our rhythm,'' said Wahine freshman setter Jennifer Carey, who finished with a match-high 17 digs. "I give a lot of credit to our passers because they (LMU) were going back and bombing. Their motto is 'Aces only.'

"It feels good to be 11-0, after the schedule we played and beating some very good teams that will be forces to be reckoned with later in the season. Our focus now is to get better on our side of the net, keep our goal of playing in December in mind and go into every game with that attitude.''

Hawaii will not see a ranked team until Oct. 24, when it hosts No. 7 Stanford. The only other Top 25 team on the schedule is No. 14 Arizona, which lost to UCLA 3-0 Saturday; the Wahine visit Tempe over Thanksgiving weekend for the Wildcats' tournament.

"The challenge for our team is to get better individually,'' said Hawaii coach Dave Shoji. "Each player has room for improvement, their own area to get better at.

"We don't think we'll find intense competition for a while. We need to get better as a team and push ourselves in practice.''

Shoji said he had hoped to be 11-0 at this juncture. However, with a freshman setting (Carey) and two others (Kahumoku and Margaret Vakasausau) seeing plenty of playing time, the lack of experience was a concern.

"I couldn't have asked for anything more at this point,'' he said. "I don't think we'll get lackadaisical. When you've got 8,000 people in the arena, it's hard to be lackadaisical. It's still a rush for our players to perform. I don't think we'll have a letdown.''

Shoji, in his 25th season, has 692 career victories. Should the Wahine continue unbeaten, his 700th win would come at San Jose State on Oct. 29.

E-mail to Sports Editor

Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]
[Stylebook] [Feedback]

© 1999 Honolulu Star-Bulletin