After an up-an-down California road trip, the University of Hawai‘i returned to the Stan Sheriff Center in fashion with a quick sweep over the UC Riverside Highlanders. The Rainbow Wahine (15-3, 5-2 Big West Conference) left nothing in doubt, holding the Highlanders under 20 points in all three sets. The final set scores were: 25-17, 25-18, 25-12.
"I thought the girls did great," head coach Robyn Ah Mow said. "This is the team I saw from the beginning (of the season), the first ten matches. They keep their composure. I like what I see."
Three Wahine players scored in double-figures, with freshman middle blocker Amber Igiede racking up a game high 11 kills. Outside hitters Hanna Hellvig and McKenna Ross each put down 10 kills. Senior setter Norene Iosia picked up a double-double with 17 assists and a season high 19 digs. With a service ace in the third set, Iosia moved into an eighth place tie in program history for the category. She also moved into 13th in program history for career digs.
"I'm not really focused on stats when I'm playing," Iosia said. "Just making sure the ball doesn't touch the floor."
The Wahine drew first blood in the match on a kill by Hellvig. The opening score prompted a barrage of scores. After UC Riverside equalized on a UH blocking error, the ‘Bows rattled off 7 straight points, led by a 6-service scoring run by Hellvig. Hawai‘i pushed the opening lead to 9-2, but proceeded to commit four straight errors. The string of mistakes helped the Highlanders cut into the lead, reducing the Wahine lead to 9-6. The short spell ultimately proved to be an anomaly, as Hawai‘i faced no further trouble, taking the first set 25-17. Hellvig and Ross led the team with a game high 4 kills each, with Igiede and fellow middle blocker Skyler Williams not far behind with 3 kills apiece.
Set two saw the Highlanders give the Wahine a run for their money. Hawai‘i opened the set with a quick 3-0 run, including two kills by Hellvig. However, the run was quickly matched by UC Riverside, before the Highlanders took their first lead of the night 6-4. A kill by Ross and a Kyra Hanawahine service ace brought the game back to a deadlock. An attacking error by UC Riverside finally gave Hawai‘i the lead back, but the two teams would go on to exchange the lead twice more. With the score tied at 17-17, the Rainbow Wahine said enough, sprinting to the finish with an 8-1 run to clinch the 25-18 set victory. Hellvig led the team with 5 kills in the set, bringing her total to a game high 9 kills through two sets.
Looking to avoid a sweep, UC Riverside began the set with two straight points from UH errors. The Highlanders could only keep the Wahine at bay for so long, as a 6-1 UH run quickly turned the tide. Igiede chipped in 3 kills during the run, while Iosia picked up a service ace. From that point on, the Wahine dominated, taking care of business with a quick 25-12 set three win. Hawai‘i took off on two separate runs of 6 or more points en route to completing the sweep.
The Wahine host UC Irvine at the Stan Sheriff Center on Oct. 20 at 5 p.m. HST. Come down to the SSC for the 25th anniversary celebration of the arena!