Posted on: Friday, October 17, 2003
UH trounces LaTech
|||Game Statistics and WAC standings|
By Ann Miller
Advertiser Staff Writer
|Hawai'i's Kim Willoughby, normally seen elevating her game with crushing kills, gets down to dig a shot by Louisiana Tech. She did have a match-high 17 kills.
Eugene Tanner The Honolulu Advertiser
A Stan Sheriff Center crowd of 5,411 watched the Rainbow Wahine (18-1, 6-0 WAC) win their 17th straight and extend their win streak over WAC teams to 80. They have also won 28 games in a row.
They did it without Lily Kahumoku, who left practice Wednesday night suffering from lower back spasms.
"She's never come out of practice," UH coach Dave Shoji said. "She can play through almost anything. But she had pain shooting down her legs. We'll see tomorrow."
All-American Kim Willoughby missed last week's road trip with strep throat. Still, Hawai'i has yet to be threatened by a WAC team, though the Techsters (13-9, 2-4) played with enough tenacity to make UH look bad at times last night.
"We got way up in Game 1 and then I thought we really let down," Shoji said. "We thought we didn't have to go hard or something. We stopped moving our feet and stopped passing.
"We strive for perfection and when we don't get it, it's a little frustrating. It just wasn't real emotional out there tonight."
The Techsters countered a sizzling Rainbow start with a 6-0 surge that cut their first-game deficit to 17-12. From there, the game was even.
Senior Lauren Duggins attributed Hawai'i's emotional run at the beginning to a touching performance of the national anthem and Hawai'i Pono'i. Students from Hawai'i School for the Deaf and Blind signed while the crowd and players stood spellbound.
"It was awesome," Duggins said. "They were my favorite group so far. They were wonderful. They had a few girls in tears. It was so cool, just amazing."
When the amazement wore off, the Rainbows had to work for their win.
They gave the Techsters 13 first-game points on errors and violations. Willoughby and Susie Boogaard, Kahumoku's replacement, struggled offensively. But LaTech had no answer for Hawai'i's quick hitters Duggins, Maja Gustin and Nohea Tano so there could be no rally.
Duggins' game blossomed to untouchable in the last two games. After missing her first swing of the night, she buried 12 of her final 14 to hit .733, and dropped in on half of Hawai'i's 14 blocks.
"She hits high and they run their slide fast," said LaTech coach Heather Mazeitis. "We were trying to stay inside on the block and we couldn't get outside in time to block her. We adjusted but, honestly, she was just hitting over our block. All we can do is try to dig that and we weren't. She played great."
Willoughby warmed up rapidly after hitting zero (three kills and errors) in Game 1, ripping nine kills in 14 swings in Game 2. Her only other hitting error came deep into the third game as she finished with 17 kills and .406 hitting. Boogaard put together nine kills and a career-high 11 digs.
Still, Hawai'i's combination of starters and reserves in Game 3 put on the most consistent performance.
QUICK SETS: Hawai'i plays SMU (15-4), which leads the WAC East at 6-0, tomorrow at 7 p.m. Sunday, Arizona comes to the Stan Sheriff Center for a non-conference match that begins at 5 p.m. ... Freshman setter Kanoe Kamana'o is already No. 10 in career assists at UH.
Reach Ann Miller at email@example.com or 525-8043