Star-Bulletin Sports

Sunday, September 23, 2001


Hawaii's Tanja Nikolic tries to hit past Santa Clara's Jessie
Mehem in the first game. The Wahine won in three.

Wahine sweep Broncos

Nohea Tano steps up in her first
start with 9 kills and 5 blocks

By Grace Wen

The Hawaii volleyball team found an unexpected surprise in the middle last night.

Sophomore Nohea Tano fought off nerves and gave the Wahine some added offense and defense in the middle, posting nine kills and five blocks in her first start.

Only a crowd of 3,789 (6,537 tickets issued) watched as Hawaii disposed of Santa Clara 30-20, 30-19, 30-16 in an hour and 34 minutes. It was the fewest points the Wahine have allowed this season.

"It was our best match of the year by far," Hawaii coach Dave Shoji said. "Margaret (Vakasausau) ran the show and spread the offense around. We played much better defense tonight and blocked really well."

Vakasausau evened the set distribution and sent the ball to Kim Willoughby, Maja Gustin and Tano. Willoughby notched 16 kills and Gustin had 13.

Hawaii outblocked Santa Clara 11-2 and demolished a Bronco offense that was already a little fragile from the previous night's long battle.

"We needed to have a lead to build our confidence," Santa Clara coach Jon Wallace said. "Fatigue had something to do with it, but tonight we didn't have it (mentally) after being so focused last night. Hawaii had a nice little kick in their step. Their offense looked a lot smoother."

Hawaii never trailed in Game 1, opening with a 9-6 lead. But the Wahine were a little sloppy, often scrambling for balls that should have been handled easily. The Wahine, however, cleaned up and built an insurmountable lead at 26-15 behind the hitting of Gustin.

Gustin was error-free in the game, blasting seven kills in 11 attempts. Tanja Nikolic and Tano were also errorless, with three kills apiece. "As the weeks are progressing, I'm getting stronger and stronger," Tano said.

Tano spent some time on the right side and in the middle in spotty play for UH. And the transfer from Washington State was hampered by a pulled abdominal muscle early in the season.

The Broncos couldn't muster any kind of offense, hitting minus-.064. Santa Clara dug plenty of hits (18 digs) but couldn't find a hitter to put away a ball. Hawaii built an enormous 23-9 lead, but a short lapse late in the second game allowed the Broncos to run off five points.

The Wahine begin Western Athletic Conference play at Louisiana Tech on Saturday. The Lady Techsters are new to the WAC. Hawaii will stop off at the University of Houston for a non-conference match Oct. 3 before finishing its road trip with conference matches at Rice and Tulsa on Oct. 4 and 6.

UH Athletics
Ka Leo O Hawaii

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