Hawaii defeats Nevada to reach WAC volleyball finals
RENO - Even though her right ankle taped heavily, Kim Willoughby pounded down a match-high 18 kills to lead Hawai'i past Nevada in the Western Athletic Conference Volleyball Tournament semifinals on Saturday night.
Hawai'i (29-1), ranked No. 2 in the nation, disposed of the Wolf Pack (16-15) in three straight games before a crowd of 1,211 at the Virginia Street Gym. The Rainbow Wahine won 30-16, 30-19, 30-17 to move one step closer to their fourth straight WAC championship.
The Rainbow Wahine play No. 6 seed San Jose State in the championship match today at 3:05 p.m. in the Virginia Street Gym. San Jose State advanced to the final by upsetting No. 2 seeded SMU earlier in the evening, 3-1, behind Kimberly Noble's 30 kills
Nevada advanced to the finals of last year's WAC Tournament before losing to Hawai'i, a team that went on to reach the NCAA Tournament Final Four in New Orleans.
The Wolf Pack, seeded fourth in the tournament, took a 2-0 lead in game one and the score was tied 3-3, only to see Hawai'i scored four unanswered points to the lead for good. Hawai'i posted a .226 attack percentage in the first game while Nevada hit for a negative-.135.
Hawai'i hit .351 for the match while the Wolf Pack hit a season-low negative .017.
Willoughby, the three-time WAC Player of the Year, hit for a .303 percentage and had eight digs on the night. Libero Melissa Villaroman had 14 digs and setter Kanoe Kamana'o was credited with 37 assists. Nohea Taho had six kills and hit .857.
Salai Salave'a had 12 kills and hit .241 to lead the Wolf Pack. Setter Tristin Adams, from Fallon, handed out 17 assists and libero Christine Haems had eight digs.