Wahine take on UTEP, SMU
After a remarkably easy road trip, the 13th-ranked University of Hawai'i Wahine are home for Western Athletic Conference volleyball matches at the Stan Sheriff Center this weekend.
Hawai'i (10-4) has won its last seven matches and 17 games. It is coming off an 8,800-mile trip to Louisiana Tech, Houston, Rice and Tulsa. On the trip, the Wahine's average margin of victory was 30-17. Last week, they out-hit opponents .422 to .036, holding Houston and Rice to negative percentages.
Offensively, UH sophomore Kim Willoughby now leads NCAA Division I with 6.35 kills per game. She is one of three Wahine among the Top 10 in WAC efficiency, hitting .311. Maja Gustin (.303) and Lauren Duggins (.298) are also there after hitting a combined .489 last week.
UTEP (5-7) was picked to finish first in the WAC's Eastern Division, but lost its first three conference matches all against Western Division teams. It is coming off a four-game victory over Boise State, highlighted by 15 UTEP aces.
The Miners have five players averaging at least two kills. They are led by senior Jacqui Nosan, who had 20 kills against Boise, and sophomore Jennifer Abbruzzese, who has seven double-doubles.
SMU (7-8) made history Friday by beating San Jose State for the first time. Junior Leslie Lasiter is WAC Player of the Week after collecting a triple-double (16 kills, 11 blocks, 10 digs) against San Jose State.
The Mustangs lead the East at 2-2, but have lost their last two, getting swept by Fresno State and falling to Texas-Arlington Tuesday.
UTEP and SMU are both 0-6 against Hawai'i. The Miners have never taken a game off UH. SMU has won one, in 1999, in Dallas.
QUICK SETS: The Wahine's eight home matches have been the eight biggest crowds in the country this season. They are averaging 6,580 per match. ... Rice ended Fresno State's nine-match winning streak by sweeping the Bulldogs Saturday. ... Nevada, which has won its last nine, plays at Fresno tomorrow and San Jose State Saturday. Nevada is 6-24 combined against those teams.