Hawaii's Kim Willoughby, right, congratulated Maja Gustin after Gustin scored a point during a match last week.

Gustin, Hawaii
trying to
maintain focus

A busy schedule has
the Rainbow Wahine
working tirelessly to
prepare for Pacific

Day by day? Try moment by moment.

That's how Maja Gustin sees her final months as a collegiate volleyball player. The senior middle for Hawaii is very much into time management, especially this week when the Rainbow Wahine have no days off between tournaments.

The weekly planner reads: Monday vs. UCLA. Tuesday practice. Wednesday practice. Thursday vs. Wichita. Friday vs. Baylor. Saturday vs. Pacific.

"And don't forget about school," said Gustin prior to yesterday's practice. "Sometimes I pray for extra energy. I ask to be present in the moment in school, in the game, in practice.

"I'm learning to keep energized all the time, how to be in the moment. If you're stuck in yesterday, you cannot do what you have to do today. If you're focusing so much on tomorrow, it means you're not focusing on today."

And the focus for yesterday's practice was living in the present. Defeating UCLA for the Hawaiian Airlines Classic title Monday is a memory, but the Rainbow Wahine also haven't forgotten how close they were to losing to the Bruins in five.

The roller-coaster ride needs to stop.

"We're looking to be a lot more steady than we were against UCLA," Hawaii coach Dave Shoji said. "We played at a pretty high level in the middle of the match, in Games 2 and 3 and midway through Game 4. It's 17-10 then we started giving up a lot of points.

"We don't have a break this week. I'd rather have a day off or another day of practice to prepare. But we're not going to get it. The emphasis at this point is definitely on our side of the net. And this week, each of the teams we face presents some problems in their own way."

On paper, Saturday's renewed rivalry with Pacific (1-0) might be considered the toughest. But Hawaii is not looking past either Baylor (3-1) or Wichita State (2-1), the later which upset then-No. 19 Washington State, 3-2, in Pullman.

"I think what we learned from the UCLA match is not to take anything for granted," senior hitter Nohea Tano said. "We pay attention to the other team's big hitters but we can't control what the other side does. We need to be worried about our side of the net.

"We need to break this pattern of one night being good and the next day being kind of laid-back, like we were for UCLA. We expected it to go 3-0. I told my friends to be here at 6 (p.m.) to take me to dinner. It was 8 o'clock when we left. It's a pattern we have to work on, to break it, to move on."

The first chance is against the Shockers tomorrow. A look at the 9th Aston Imua Challenge teams:

No. 2 Hawaii (4-1)

The Wahine are coming off their third consecutive HAL title, outlasting UCLA in five. Hawaii has won its last three matches, with the only loss coming to top-ranked and defending national champion Southern California on Aug. 23.

The Wahine are led by All-Americans Kim Willoughby (Sr., 6-0, OH) and Lily Kahumoku (Sr., 6-2, OH), and Lauren Duggins (Sr., 6-0, MB). Willoughby is averaging 7.29 kills per game, almost half of the Wahine's team total (17.35 kpg).

Duggins leads the team in blocks with a 1.24 per-game average; the team is averaging 2.68 bpg, helped by the 17 blocks recorded in the win over Louisville on Sunday.

Dave Shoji is in his 29th season (808-148-1).

Hawaii leads the series with Pacific 33-25 and with Baylor 3-0. This will be the first meeting with Wichita State.

Baylor (3-1)

The Bears won their own Classic for the third straight year when defeating Mississippi 3-1.

Tisha Schwartz (Sr., 6-3, OH) took home Tournament Most Outstanding Player honors for the second year in a row. She is leading the team in kills with a 5.06 kpg average.

Also named to the all-tournament team were Emily Huston (So., 6-1, S) and Nicole LeBlanc (Fr., 6-1, MB).

Baylor's lone loss came Saturday afternoon when the Bears fell to Wyoming in five. Baylor opened the season Friday with a 3-0 sweep of Texas-San Antonio and a 3-1 victory over Houston.

Coach Brian Hosfeld is in his eighth season (120-111).

Baylor leads the series with Wichita State 2-1, trails against Hawaii 0-3 and has never faced Pacific.

Wichita State (2-1)

The Shockers stunned host Washington State Saturday, rallying to upend the Cougars in five at the Les Schwab Cougar Challenge.

Sara Younes (Jr., 5-9, OH) had 19 kills against the Cougars in being named to the all-tournament team. The Shockers are getting solid play from a trio of younger players: Cori Meyer (So., 6-0, OH), Darci Vohs (So., 6-1, MB) and Elizabeth Meyers (So, 6-1, MB).

Wichita State defeated Oklahoma and fell to eventual tournament champion San Francisco in five.

Coach Chris Lamb is in his fifth season (39-53). The win over Washington State was the first time in his four seasons that the Shockers have defeated a nationally ranked team.

Wichita State trails in the series with Baylor 1-2 and has never met either Hawaii or Pacific.

Pacific (1-0)

The Tigers opened the year Friday with a 3-1 win over then-No. 14 Santa Clara.

The Tigers are led by All-American blocker Jennifer Joines (Sr., 6-3, MB) who reached the 1,600-kill mark against the Broncos. She needs just 254 kills to surpass Elsa Stegemann as the school's all-time leader.

Co-captain Hayley Anderson (Jr., 5-11, S) had a career-high 10 kills in the win over Santa Clara. Beginning to be a force in the middle is Susan Drollinger (So., 6-3, MB), the daughter of former UCLA basketball center Ralph Drollinger, who backed up Bill Walton in the early 1970s.

Jayne McHugh, a former UOP player, is in her third season (48-21).

Pacific trails in the series with Hawaii 33-25 and has never met Baylor or Wichita State.

WAC honor for Willoughby

Hawaii's Kim Willoughby was named the first Western Athletic Conference Player of the Week for 2003, the seventh time in her Rainbow Wahine career.

The senior hitter hit .493 against No. 13 Minnesota and No. 16 Louisville next week. He had a combined 41 kills and 13 digs.

Aston Imua Challenge

Where: Stan Sheriff Center

Tomorrow: Baylor (3-1) vs. Pacific (1-0), 5 p.m.; Hawaii (4-1) vs. Wichita State (2-1), 7 p.m.

Friday: Pacific vs. Wichita State, 5 p.m.; Hawaii vs. Baylor, 7 p.m.

Saturday: Wichita State vs. Baylor, 5 p.m.; Hawaii vs. Pacific, 7 p.m.

Radio: All Hawaii matches live, KKEA 1420-AM.

TV: All matches, KFVE Channel 5.

Internet: and

Tickets: Thursday and Friday $3-$14. Saturday (premium game) $3-$16.


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