Volleyball Drops To Hawai'i In NCAA Second Round, 3-1

Dec. 7, 2002

HONOLULU - The Washington volleyball team (20-11) was unable to slow the No. 2 ranked and No. 6 seed Hawai'i (32-1) in the second round of the 2002 NCAA Women's Volleyball Tournament. UH's Lily Kahumoku and Kim Willoughby combined for 41 kills en route to the 3-1 victory (30-26, 39-37, 30-25).

Hawai'i took game one, 30-26 led by Kahumoku's eight-kill performance. Washington's biggest lead came early at the 2-0 mark before the Rainbow Wahine took it away at 6-5. Jennifer Carey led the 'Bows on a 5-1 run with a block and two kills to force a Husky timeout at 10-6. Washington came charging back on the arm of Kaitlin Leck (Carson City, Nev.) who recorded a kill, block and two service aces to regain the 13-12 edge. The lead was short lived, however, as a Husky blocking error put Hawai'i back on top for good. UH took its largest lead at the 28-23 mark before the Huskies pulled to within three at 28-25 and forced Hawai'i's second timeout of the game. The Rainbow Wahine came out of the huddle with a Kahumoku kill and a block by Maja Gustin and Lauren Duggins to earn the 30-26 win.

Game two was a barnburner as the teams tied 12 times after the 25-all mark. Washington opened the game on top, pushing its lead to five at 17-12. The Rainbow Wahine battled back to take its first lead of the game at 20-19 on a block by Gustin and Suzie Boogaard. The Huskies put themselves back on top at 27-26 on back-to-back kills by Paige Benjamin (Redmond, Wash.) and Kara Bjorklund (Olympia, Wash.). Washington held the first of seven game point advantages at the 29-28 mark and again at 30-29 and 31-30. Hawai'i recorded its first game point advantage at 32-31 on a Gustin kill but a block by Alexis McDonald (Long Beach, Calif.) and Sanja Tomasevic (Uzice, Yugoslavia) knotted the score at 32-32 before the Huskies held three more game point advantages at 33-32, 34-33 and 35-34. UH utilized a kill by setter Margaret Vakasausau and another by Kahumoku to gain its second game point edge. Benjamin pounded a kill to knot the score at 36-36 and a Willoughby attack error gave the Huskies their final game point at 37-36. The Rainbow Wahine then strung three kills together, including two by Willoughby, to take the game, 39-37.

After the intermission, Washington again took the early lead at 8-3. Hawaii chipped away at UW's lead to finally go ahead at the 13-12 mark. The Rainbow Wahine built their lead to five at 26-21 on three consecutive Kahumoku kills. The Huskies pulled to within three at 28-25 but would get no closer as another Kahumoku kill and a UH block sealed the Rainbow Wahine victory, 30-25.

Washington had three players finish with double-figure kills, including Benjamin (17), Bjorklund (13) and Tomasevic (11). Candace Lee (Eugene, Ore.) anchored the defense with 22 digs, while McDonald added eight blocks. Gretchen Maurer (San Clemente, Calif.) dished 41 assists in her final career match.

The loss ends Washington's best season in recent memory with a fifth place finish in the Pac-10 (9-9), two all-conference selections, Pac-10 Coach of the Year honors and its first postseason birth since 1997.

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