Volleyball Drops Three-Game Match to No. 2 Hawai'i
Nov. 9, 2003
FRESNO, Calif. - The Fresno State volleyball team christened the Save Mart Center with a winning attitude as 4,708 fans came out and supported the Bulldogs as they hosted No. 2 Hawai'i in a Western Athletic Conference match up this afternoon.
The 4,708 attendance mark is a new match record for the volleyball program as well as being the 27th-best attended match in the country this fall after Notre Dame (8,643) and Wisconsin (5,479) drew better later in the day. The Bulldogs shattered their former record of 1,982 versus Hawai'i in 1996 at the North Gym.
The Rainbow Wahine (26-1, 12-0) demonstrated why they are the second-ranked team in the country as they showcased three All-Americans and six starting seniors in a 30-15, 30-26 and 30-21 victory.
The Bulldogs, however, showcased a possible All-American themselves in junior outside hitter Kristen Fenton as she paced the 'Dogs with 19 kills while hitting a match-high .400 (19-3-40) to go along with nine digs and two blocks.
Hawai'i was led by two-time All-America outside hitter Kim Willoughby, who had a match-high 20 kills, four service aces and eight digs while hitting .357 (20-5-42). All-America outside hitter Lily Kahumoku was next with 14 kills and had a match-high 20 digs and two blocks. The victory wrapped up the Rainbow Wahine's eighth straight divisional/outright regular-season WAC title.
In game one, UH poured it on as the Bulldogs were caught on their heels by playing only a defensive game. With the game tied at 3-3, the Rainbow Wahine took control and went on a 15-6 run for an 18-9 lead. UH would only allow the 'Dogs to score six more points after that as it posted a 30-15 win. The Rainbow Wahine hit .333 and kept the 'Dogs below .100 with a -.051 hitting efficiency. UH, which outdug Fresno State, 10-11, and outblocked the Bulldogs, 5-1, was sparked by Willoughby who had seven kills. Fenton had four kills for the 'Dogs.
In the second game, the Bulldogs played tight against the second-ranked team in the nation. Owning leads at 6-2, 10-6 and 13-10, the 'Dogs did not allow Hawaii to tie the game until 13-13 and 14-14 in the first half of the game. The Bulldogs went on a short 5-3 run for a 19-17 lead before UH answered back with a 3-1 run to tie the game at 20-20. With the game tied at 21 all, the 'Dogs trailed for the first time all game when UH took the lead at 22-21. UH would only let Fresno State get back within one (23-22) before closing out the game with a 7-4 run for a 30-26 win. Fenton and Willoughby each had seven kills. The Bulldogs won the battle at the net by outblocking, 5-3, as senior middle blocker Carrie Hartt tallied three blocks. Hitting .160 to UH's .267, the Rainbow Wahine was led defensively by Kahumoku, who had eight digs as Hawai'i outdug Fresno State, 22-16. Junior libero Tina Brennan had seven digs for the Bulldogs.
In the finale, Fresno State was more offensively minded as it hit .306. However, Hawai'i hit .469 to seal the three-game victory. While starting out of the gate slow, the Bulldogs picked it up after trailing 10-3. With a 7-6 run, the 'Dogs got within six at 16-10. Fresno State got within six again at 22-16 and 26-20 before closing the gap to five (26-21). The Bulldogs would get no closer as Hawai'i closed out the game with a 4-0 run for the 30-21 victory. Fenton was perfect from the floor after hitting .500 (8-0-16) while Brennan dug eight balls. Kahumoku became UH's all-around catalyst as she tallied eight kills, hit .412 (8-1-17) and totaled seven digs.
"There's a reason why Hawai'i is ranked No. 2 in the nation," Fresno State volleyball head coach Lindy Vivas said. "They're big and powerful. There is no rotation that gives an opponent a break. We struggled offensively and that hurt us. We always seemed to be in a defensive mode and that is hard to come back from and play off of to get going offensively.
"However, we finally have a place for all young girls in the Valley to come watch us play. The turnout today was electric and the fans should be very proud of what happened here today. Given the busy week and weekend, the community came out and supported our team with great enthusiasm. It was especially nice to see so many young volleyball players come out. I think they leave here today fired up about their sport.
"I just want to thank everyone for their hard work, especially those from the Save Mart Center. It was a historic day for the university, for the athletics program and for the volleyball program. We just want to do what we can to generate a new sense of pride for Fresno State."
Fresno State (19-6, 9-3 WAC) wraps up its four-match homestand on Wed., Nov. 12, 7:00 p.m., with a non-conference contest against CS Northridge at the North Gym. That evening will be senior night as well as the Bulldogs close out their home schedule against the Matadors.