Tired and worn, the second-ranked Rainbow Wahine of Hawaii endured a strong start by Fresno State for a sweep Friday night at Stan Sheriff Center.
Wahine fend off
Fresno goes cold as
weary Hawaii roars to sweep
By Paul Honda
Friday, Oct. 25, 2002
HONOLULU -- Back in Fresno, prognosticators promised an epic battle.
The Rainbow Wahine weren't hearing any of it Friday night. Hawaii withstood a strong start by Fresno State for a 30-28, 30-17, 30-26 victory at Stan Sheriff Center.
Hawaii has now won 42 games in a row.
Kim Willoughby returned to the lineup after a bout with stomach flu and pounded 24 kills (.291). Lily Kahumoku slammed 18 (.229) to help pace the Rainbow Wahine. Lauren Duggins stepped up with 11 kills in only 14 attempts (.714) to help offset a slightly sluggish Hawaii performance.
The Rainbow Wahine committed 18 hitting errors and hit .296 as a team. Hawaii, as usual, outdug its foe, 66-52. Willoughby had 15 to pace UH, and Kahumoku added 12. Kristen Fenton led Fresno State with 11 kills (.263).
Second-ranked Hawaii improved to 7-0 in Western Athletic Conference play (19-0 overall). Fresno State dropped to 6-2 in league play (18-3 overall). It was the Fresno Bee that promised a strong Bulldog effort, expecting Fresno State to give Hawaii its toughest WAC challenge of the season.
The Rainbow Wahine didn't need external warnings.
"We were warned by our coaches that they were awesome, and they are," Duggins said. "They just kind of fell apart in the second and third games."
Fresno State had seven kills and seven hitting errors in 36 attempts (.000) in game two. Hawaii pounded hard, with 18 kills in 35 attempts (three errors) for a .429 clip.
Duggins gave the Bulldogs credit up front. "The outsides have a real quick arm swing. They find the seams. They did that really well," she said. "Their middles, they get up real high, and that girl Java (Johnson), she gets high."
Johnson finished with nine kills (.214). "They're a quick, good team. They pass well. They play defense well. Most important, I think, is their energy."
Duggins rates the Bulldogs as the best of the Hawaii's league opponents. "As far as conference goes, I think they're probably the best team," she said.
It was Hawaii's sixth match in eight days. Returning to the islands after a recent road trip to Texas left most of the Wahine with a backlog of exams and papers to deal with. Even setter Margaret Vakasausau felt the burden of two exams once she stepped back into class Tuesday. Hawaii's depth came in handy. Jennifer Carey delivered 43 assists and nine digs for her squad.
"However many games we played in however many days, I think the tiredness finally came over us. It didn't quite take us, but it was kind of close," Duggins added. "It was kind of running low. Running on empty. We had to stay after school. Take make-up exams. Go in for tests, things like that the whole week. Also, to prepare for next week, too."
Overall, however, it can only help Hawaii, a team that now 102-3 in WAC competition. Pressure, after all, is what forms a diamond.
Hawaii needed perseverance in game one, rallying ahead of the Bulldogs. The Wahine didn't lead until late in the set, taking a 27-26 edge.
Hawaii heads to the mainland this week, with matches at Nevada and Boise State.