[ COLLEGE VOLLEYBALL ]
GEORGE F. LEE / GLEE@STARBULLETIN.COM|
Hawaii's Lily Kahumoku, a Kamehameha alumna, tried to hit one through the Brigham Young block last night.
together once more
They earned one national championship together, but there won't be another one for former Kamehameha teammates Uila Crabbe, Nohea Tano and Lily Kahumoku.
Kahumoku and Tano will be moving on to the NCAA Sweet 16 after Hawaii's 30-19, 30-23, 30-22 win over Brigham Young last night at the Stan Sheriff Center.
Crabbe, the starting libero for the Cougars, completed her career with 1,119 digs. BYU ends its season at 24-9.
The former Warriors were part of a vaunted 1999 team that earned the mythical high school volleyball national championship. All six starters from that team went on to earn Division I scholarships.
Kamehameha coach Dan Kitashima was one of the 6,492 in attendance yesterday. It was a bittersweet moment for Kitashima, who retired from coaching after the 1999 season and got to see two of his former players move on in the NCAA Tournament. He remembered that Tano, Crabbe and Casey Castillo were the first freshmen he ever allowed onto the varsity squad.
"Words cannot express how I feel," Kitashima said of seeing three of his former players on the court last night. "It's like watching a sunset. The magnificence and the beauty. It's hard to put words to."
Crabbe had no problem expressing how ecstatic she was to come home. The libero knew her season might just end in her hometown, where she was cheered loudly in the prematch introductions.
"I had the attitude that we have to play like this is our last game, play our hearts out," Crabbe said. "Whatever happens, we gave it our best.
"It was nice having to go against them. It was the place where everything started and against the people I've played with."
Crabbe played well against her former teammates, collecting 10 digs and passing nails.
Did any of the Rainbow Wahine try to avoid serving in Crabbe's direction?
They should have. Crabbe was the only one able to pass Kim Willoughby's blistering jump serve.
"I kind of just enjoy playing with her," Tano said. "Playing against her was not as good. Seeing her on the other side and doing well made me happy.
"We know she's a good passer. We just went with our game plan. We stuck to what we have on our side."
They might not have tried to avoid her but Crabbe said she could hear the Wahine through the net when a ball was "accidentally" served in her direction.
Lundqvist is a luxury: Hawaii middle Karin Lundqvist showed yesterday how much of a luxury depth is for the Rainbow Wahine. With middle blocker Maja Gustin sidelined with a boot on her right foot, Lundqvist stepped into the lineup and helped the Wahine get the job done on offense and defense.
It was Lundqvist's first start since September, when she was in the lineup against Stanford. The 6-foot-3 middle has mostly been known as a defensive threat with her blocking, but Lundqvist hit with heat yesterday. She hit .556, drilling 12 kills and putting down Hawaii's first kill of the match.
Lundqvist added five kills in Game 2, including one that she spanked at BYU's Linsdey Metcalf, who was guarding the line.
Lundqvist said hitting harder is something that Hawaii coach Dave Shoji asked of her at the beginning of the season.
"Dave has been on me for that this season," Lundqvist said. " It takes a lot of practice.
"A lot of people have said it was the match of my life. It was so much fun. It was so enjoyable."
Lundqvist's performance has Shoji reconsidering next week's lineup. Gustin is expected to have treatment tomorrow and Monday. But Shoji didn't say that she would be guaranteed her spot back in the lineup.
"Whoever said the starter doesn't lose the position because of the injury, that may not be the case here," Shoji said. "Maja has to be 100 percent."
Glimpse of the future: New Mexico State may have been ousted by Brigham Young on Thursday but the Aggies did stick around to soak up the atmosphere at the arena. Well, not exactly.
New Mexico coach Mike Jordan said that the Aggies had planned on being in yesterday's second-round match and had bought plane tickets that included staying an extra day. Despite being swept by the Cougars, the experience in the Stan Sheriff Center should help when the Aggies join the Western Athletic Conference in 2005.
Though New Mexico State is senior-laden, Jordan believes having played in the arena will help his freshman and sophomores when the Aggies return in 2005.
"I'm happy about it. It helps in recruiting," Jordan said. "Getting an opportunity to play here is every volleyball player's dream. The Wahine fans are so good. It was exciting even yesterday. They're so knowledgeable."
Jordan said joining the WAC will be a step up for New Mexico State. He believes the top three teams in the conference, excluding Hawaii, could win the Sun Belt conference.
SI names Willoughby Player of the Year: Kim Willoughby has enough hardware to fill several trophy cases.
She added a new award this week after being named the Sports Illustrated on Campus Player of the Year. The magazine selected eight athletes in NCAA-sponsored fall sports.