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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, September 10, 2003

Willoughby adds WAC kills mark to record-setting career

By Ann Miller
Advertiser Staff Writer

Kim Willoughby has become Rainbow Wahine volleyball's career kill and ace leader early in her senior season.

Sprint Hawai'i Invitational

•WHERE: Stan Sheriff Center

• WHEN: Friday—5 p.m., No. 4 Stanford (5-1) vs. Weber State (2-4); 7, No. 2 HAWAI'I (7-1) vs. Utah State (5-2). Saturday—5 p.m. consolation; 7 p.m. championship.

• TV/RADIO: KFVE (5) and 1420 AM will broadcast all UH matches live, except if Hawai'i plays 5 p.m. Saturday match. That would be televised on a delayed basis at 7 p.m.

• TICKETS: Fridayi$14 lower level, $11 upper, $8 senior citizens (65-older), $6 students 4-18, $3 UH System students. Saturdayi$16 lower level, $13 upper level, $9 senior citizens (65-older), $6 students 4-18 and $3 UH System students.


Last week, Willoughby broke the Western Athletic Conference record for career kills. The two-time WAC Player of the Year has 2,038. San Jose State's Joslynn Gallop set the old mark of 1,996 three years ago.

Going into this weekend's Sprint Hawai'i Invitational, Willoughby is averaging more than seven kills a game and hitting .443. She needs 214 digs to surpass Tita Ahuna and become Hawai'i's career leader.

Willoughby will get a chance to cut into that dig deficit Friday when the second-ranked Rainbow Wahine (7-1) play Utah State (5-2). Fourth-ranked Stanford (5-1) plays Weber State (2-4) in the opener.

Hawai'i has won its last six with varying degrees of difficulty. Last week it barely outlasted UCLA, then blasted Wichita State and Baylor before looking vulnerable early against Pacific.

The Bruins moved into the Top 10 Monday thanks in part to their five-game loss. UOP's showing helped it jump into the rankings for the first time in nearly a year.

But the erratic nature of those matches is cause for concern in Manoa. Hawai'i has seven seniors. UH coach Dave Shoji has started reminding them to "make the best of every match."

"They'll want to look back on this season and have enjoyed every game," Shoji said. "Sometimes you overlook one here and there and all of a sudden you're done and you wish you had more games to play."

Utah State has five starters back, including Zuzana Cernianska, the 2002 co-Big West Freshman of the Year from the Czech Republic. She is averaging more than five kills and 1 1/2 blocks a game.

The Aggies supplemented their experience by bringing in three foreign freshmen. Shoji calls that "instant credibility," though Utah State has stayed with its returning players early.

Hawai'i could see Stanford Saturday. The Cardinal were swept by No. 3 Florida last weekend. Stanford gave the Rainbow Wahine both 2002 losses, including the final-four semifinal. Hawai'i has not defeated Stanford since 1991, losing the last seven meetings.

QUICK SETS: Lauren Duggins needs eight blocks to move up to ninth on the career list. Maja Gustin needs eight to move into the Top 10. ... Lily Kahumoku is 26 kills short of tying Therese Crawford for fifth on the career list. ... The six hitting errors Hawai'i had against Louisville is a UH record for the rally-scoring era. The fewest errors in Rainbow Wahine history is five, against Rice in 2000, before rally scoring.

Reach Ann Miller at amiller@honoluluadvertiser.com or 525-8043.