The time difference made no difference for the University of Hawai‘i women’s volleyball team Saturday morning at the Ferrell Center in Waco, Texas. It was a 6 p.m. game for the Tigers, but the time difference essentially made it an 8 a.m. wake up for Hawai‘i. Nevertheless, the No. 13 Wahine (10-0) took down No. 17 Missouri (8-2) in a five-set thriller on the second day of the Baylor Classic. The set scores were: 17-25, 28-26, 16-25, 25-16, 16-14.
Heading into the weekend, the Baylor Classic was a battle of the unbeatened, featuring three of the final nine undefeated teams of the 2019 season. The Baylor Bears entered the tournament at 7-0, while the Missouri Tigers entered at 8-0. Hawai‘i led the pack with 9 consecutive wins to begin the season. The Wahine would have to wait for their first unbeaten foe however, as Missouri fell to Baylor in straight sets to open the tournament. Looking to rebound from their first loss, the Tigers took on a ‘Bows team hoping to extend its win streak.
Junior middle blocker Skyler Williams led the team with 13 kills in the match, while freshman outside hitter Hanna Hellvig racked up her third straight double-double with 12 kills and 11 digs. Senior outside hitter McKenna Ross finished with 11 kills to put three ‘Bows in double digit kills. Defensively, five ‘Bows finished with double digit kills, with redshirt junior outside hitter Brooke Van Sickle leading the way with 14. Freshman outside hitter Riley Wagoner finished with 13 digs, while Hellvig, Norene Iosia, and Rika Okino each finished with 11 digs.
Set one began evenly between the two teams. Missouri got the game started with two straight kills, but soon gave those two points back to the ‘Bows on back-to-back errors. The Tigers fixed their mistakes with a kill on the next play, but the Wahine again equalized on their first kill of the game from freshman middle blocker Amber Igiede. With the score tied at 3-3, Mizzou took off on a 7-3 to seize a commanding lead. The lead only grew from there, as an 8-3 run gave the Tigers an 18-10 lead. The Wahine tried to fight back late, cutting the deficit to five, but Missouri ultimately went on to seal the set with three straight scores to end the set 25-17 and take the early 1-0 lead.
The second set was much closer than the first. The Tigers and the Wahine traded errors to start the set. A kill by Igiede gave Hawai‘i its first lead of the game. Trailing 8-6 later in the set, the Wahine ran out to a 15-11 lead on a 9-3 run, aided by 7 Mizzou errors. Hawai’i later withstood a 6-3 run by the Tigers for their first set-point opportunity. Missouri wouldn’t go down easy however, fighting back to tie the game at 24 points apiece. The ‘Bows committed an error on the next play as the Tigers became the first team to reach 25 points in the set. Hawai‘i was able to tie the game to make it 25-25, before closing out the set on a 3-1 run to take a 28-26 victory. The celebration wouldn’t last for long however. Missouri sprinted out to a 7-1 lead in set three, before a 5-2 run gave them a 12-4 advantage. The scoring outburst continued, as the Tigers ran out to a quick 25-16 set victory to take the 2-1 game lead.
Set four proved to be a flip of the script for the Wahine. With their backs to the wall, Hawai‘i started strong with a 13-5 run to start the set. Later in the set, the ‘Bows put themselves in a set-point chance with a 9-5 run to take a 24-16 run. Senior setter Bailey Choy wouldn’t waste the activity, ending the set with a service ace to help the Wahine even up the game at 2 sets apiece and force a set five. Hawai‘i opened the crucial final set much like they had in fourth, with a quick 11-6 run to take a commanding lead. However, the Tigers once again fought back to force a deuce at 14-14 to end the Wahine’s set-point opportunity. McKenna Ross’s kill gave the ‘Bows another chance. The call was answered, as Hellvig and Igiede combined on a block to seal the game with a 16-14 set victory.
With the win, the ‘Bows’ extend their win streak to 10 games. They will take on 8-0 Baylor in clash of unbeatens to determine the winner of the tournament.
The Wahine take on the Bears in the Baylor Classic finale at the Ferrell Center on Sep. 22 at 9 a.m. HST.