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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, November 17, 2002

UH stops San Jose to end regular season

Advertiser Staff

Kim Willoughby pounded a match-high 19 kills and Lily Kahumoku added 16 as third-ranked Hawai'i swept San Jose State 30-18, 30-19, 30-17 in a conference regular-season finale yesterday at San Jose, Calif.

A Spartan school-record volleyball crowd of 1,749 at The Event Center watched the Rainbows stretch their Western Athletic Conference winning streak to 71 matches.

"I think we played one of our better matches of the year," Hawai'i coach Dave Shoji said. "We blocked well, we played better defense, Kim and Lily were on again; we just played well tonight."

Willoughby finished the match hitting .471 and Kahumoku .400.

In addition, the Rainbows played floor-covering defense, recording 65 digs, led by Melissa Villaroman's 16. Hawai'i also outblocked San Jose State 14-4.

In Game 1, Hawai'i (25-1, 13-0) sprinted out to a 12-5 lead behind and never looked back.

In Game 2, the Spartans (13-14, 7-6) closed to 19-17, but couldn't overtake the Rainbows who iced the game with an 11-2 run.

In Game 3, the Rainbows grabbed a 21-9 lead and traded points with the Spartans in a 9-8 final run.

On Friday, the Rainbows beat Fresno State in five games to clinch their eighth straight regular-season conference title and the top seed in the WAC Tournament this Friday through Sunday in Reno, Nev.

"I think we got some confidence tonight and momentum going into the tournament," Shoji said. "Tonight was good for us. We struggled on Friday night but bounced back tonight and regained our confidence."

Hawai'i will return home today before traveling to the WAC Tournament where it will play Louisiana Tech in the first round.