Sponsored by:

Comment, blog & share photos

Log in | Become a member
The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Friday, September 6, 2002

Wahine sweep San Francisco, improve to 4-0

By Ann Miller
Advertiser Staff Writer

University of Hawaii's Lauren Duggins, left, and Lily Kahumoku go for a dig against San Francisco.

Gregory Yamamoto • The Honolulu Advertiser

Whatever San Francisco could do with a volleyball last night, the University of Hawai'i could do better. The Rainbow Wahine did it twice as well.

Fourth-ranked Hawai'i (4-0) drop-kicked the Dons, 30-15, 30-20, 30-16, on the opening night of the eighth annual Aston Imua Challenge. The Stan Sheriff Center crowd of 4,437 realized the rout was on early. The band started to chant "BYU is going down" midway through the first game and the fans got caught up in the football spirit.

By the time it was over —less than 90 minutes after it started — Kim Willoughby had 20 kills and USF 29. Lily Kahumoku kicked in 14 kills. Both All-Americans also had double-digit digs as UH out-dug the defensive-minded Dons 60-39.

"We lead the WCC the last two years in defense," USF coach David Noble said. "We're either 1 or 2 in blocking and 1 or 2 in digging. And they doubled our digs. And when you have those types of terminators who can terminate after digs, you're going to win."

The Rainbows also had a 2-to-1 advantage in kills (60-29) and blocks (9-5), with six of those stuffs coming in the final game. Most tellingly, they hit .403 to the Dons' .093.

Aston Imua Challenge

• Where: Stan Sheriff Center
• Today
5 p.m., San Francisco vs. Washington
7, Hawai'i vs. San Diego State
• Tomorrow
5 p.m., San Diego St. vs. San Francisco
7, Hawai'i vs. Washington
• TV: KFVE (5) will broadcast Hawai'i matches
• Radio: 1420 AM will broadcast Hawai'i matches

During the 10-minute break between Games 2 and 3, the block was the only phase UH coach Dave Shoji could quibble with, and four non-starters helped answer his plea in the final 25 minutes.

"They're deep, it's a physical team, they are very quick and they've been there before," said Noble. "I expect them to be in the final four.

"The frightening part is we hardly even pushed them at all."

The Rainbows were even prepared for that. Coming in, their focus was on their side of the court, with one exception: USF hitter Brittanie Budinger, who had a third of her team's kills (10) and nearly all its serious swings.

"She just goes up and rips," Shoji said. "I don't think she backed down at all."

No other Don had more than four kills. At times, USF simply could not put a ball away against Hawai'i. It had seven kills in the first game, to Willoughby's eight. On the final point, Kahumoku, Melissa Villaroman, Jennifer Carey and Nohea Tano made saves to keep the rally alive long enough for Willoughby to end it with a running roll shot.

"We can play good defense when we're into it," Shoji said. "We kind of take it personal when people put the ball down."

The only sense of drama came when the Dons stayed with UH point for point through 15-all in Game 2. After the media timeout, the Rainbows went off, outscoring USF 15-5. By the third game, Willoughby and Kahumoku were the only starters left. The dominance never wavered.

"We're really deep," said Tano, who went 5-for-5. "At every position there is someone who can come in and fill the void. They are just as strong. That's nice to have. It's scary but it's also nice because you never know what might happen. People get hurt and its also good to have someone pushing you constantly."

USF, coming off a 9-16 season, was picked to finish fifth in the West Coast Conference. Its all-conference middle blocker, Teresa Russell, suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in November and probably won't play until next month. Last night, the San Francisco played three freshmen extensively. It made for a somewhat unorthodox attack and little resistance, despite its tenacity.

"They have some terminators," Noble said of the Rainbows. "They just come at you, and what you have to be impressed with is they don't make a lot of errors.

"You have to honor their middle and honor their right and their setter is smart enough to know that at any time she can pull the trigger on the outside with the All-American hitters."

In the first match, Washington swept San Diego State, 31-29, 30-23, 30-21. The Huskies have won their first four matches, without dropping a game. The Aztecs, who reached the NCAA Tournament last year and were picked to finish fourth in the Mountain West, dropped to 2-2.

Washington's Paige Benjamin had 23 kills and hit .400. The Aztecs, who hit .170 as a team, were led by Melissa Cansdale and Zlatina Anguelova, with 10 kills apiece. Anguelova, a junior from Bulgaria, also had 15 digs.

QUICK SETS: UH junior Maja Gustin sat out last night to rest her sore left foot. She is not expected to play this weekend. ... USF coach David Noble recruited UH Olympian Heather Bown to UC-Santa Barbara when he was an assistant there. He needs three victories to become the Dons' winningest coach —Êwith 39 victories. ... San Diego State lost two players to anterior cruciate ligament injuries during preseason training.