Star-Bulletin Sports

Sunday, September 9, 2001


Hawaii middle blocker Lauren Duggins, who had eight kills, hit one
past Cincinnati's Ashley Grooms, left, and Bonita Wise. The Wahine
swept the Bearcats to improve to 4-4 this season.

Wahine rebound
with easy win

By Grace Wen

Three weeks of intense tournament action came to a close yesterday afternoon for the Hawaii volleyball team.

UH The Wahine (4-4) cruised to an easy win against unranked Cincinnati (2-3) at the seventh annual Aston Imua Challenge.

The matinee show didn't draw as many people as Hawaii is used to, as 2,908 (5,778 tickets issued) watched the Wahine sweep the Bearcats 30-24, 30-22, 30-16.

It was Hawaii's first second-place finish in tournament history. Five of the Wahine's first eight matches have been against teams ranked in the top 25.

Tenth-ranked Hawaii had little time for recovery after Friday night's beating by No. 6 USC.

"I respect my teammates for going out and playing as hard as they did," Kim Willoughby said. "I know I was fighting my body and feeling slow. It took us a little bit, but we got back into it."

Despite being fatigued, Willoughby turned in a solid double-double performance, hammering 22 kills and scrambling for 14 digs. Tanja Nikolic and Maja Gustin chipped in 11 kills apiece.

Both teams struggled early in the match. Willoughby's first kill scored Hawaii's first point, with the teams battling to 12-12 and 16-16 ties before two blocks and a kill by Nikolic gave the Wahine a three-point advantage.

From there, Hawaii pulled away, and neither of the ensuing two games were close.

"It was really hard to get up and just get your body going," Hawaii coach Dave Shoji said. "It had to be tough for the team. We started well, then in the middle of the first game we went into a little lull, but we got ourselves out of it.

Kim Willoughby led the way with 22 kills and 14 digs.

"If we would have had to play a much better team, I don't know if we were up for it. Cincinnati is a decent team. I'm glad we were able to control a team like that."

Hawaii won the war at the net -- outblocking (11-5) and outhitting (.411-.154) Cincinnati.

Bearcat middle blocker Bonita Wise notched 14 kills off a variety of roll shots, tips and hard hits. But terrible passing didn't allow the Bearcats to utilize her enough.

"We expected to play in a tough tournament," Cincinnati coach Reed Sunahara said. "We haven't been passing well. ... Usually that's our strong point."

Hawaii will have a full week of practice before facing Loyola Marymount on Friday at 7 p.m.


Walk-on Litiana Damuni has quit the team.

UH Athletics
Ka Leo O Hawaii

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