The University of Hawai‘i women’s volleyball team’s hunt for the Big West Conference regular season title remains on track after the Rainbow Wahine (21-3, 11-2 BWC) took down the UC Davis Aggies in four sets on the road (26-24, 22-25, 25-22, 25-15). The ‘Bows extend their conference lead over UCSB and Cal Poly to one game ahead. The Gauchos and the Mustangs face each other later this weekend.
Freshman outside hitter Hanna Hellvig led the team with a game-high 17 kills. Junior Brooke Van Sickle was the only other ‘Bows to hit over double digits, finishing with 12 kills. Redshirt junior libero Rika Okino continued her strong defensive stretch with a game-high 17 digs. Senior setter Norene Iosia finished with yet another double-double with 28 assists and 13 digs. Once again, she came up just shy of a triple-double with 9 kills in the match.
The Aggies took the first lead of the day with an opening kill, part of a 4-2 run to begin the match. The Wahine began to chip away at the lead, but a 4-0 UC Davis run extended the lead to 13-8. Later in the set, with the Aggies leading 17-12, the ‘Bows began their comeback with a 5-1 run to cut the deficit to one. The teams continued to battle, with Hawai’i staying one step ahead, until the ‘Bows came out with their first set ball opportunity 24-23. An Aggie kill forced a deuce, but a Wahine kill and block ended the set 26-24.
UC Davis again opened the second set with a kill to take the early lead. This time around, the Wahine didn’t let it go much further, with back-to-back scores to take away the lead. The exchange became a trend in the early going, as the lead changed hands a few more times. An Aggie 5-0 run soon gave them their biggest lead of the set. Later, following a 3-0 UC Davis run, the ‘Bows clawed back with six consecutive scores, led by senior setter bailey Choy’s 5 service scoring run. Hawai’i came one point shy of tying the game however. The run flipped the momentum, as the Wahine finally regained the lead at 22-21 and later at 23-22. It was the Aggies who would finish out strong however, with a 4-1 run to end the set 25-22 and even the game up at 1-1.
Set three featured another offensive explosion, with both teams crossing the 20-point threshold. The Rainbow Wahine opened with a 3-1 run, but UC Davis responded with six consecutive points to take control. Hawai’i bounced back well, embarking on a 14-4 run that concluded with seven straight points. Iosia played a starring role in the run, adding to her illustrious career with two service aces during the 7-0 run. UC Davis made things interesting with a 7-2 run to cut the deficit to just one, but the ‘Bows closed out the match with back-to-back Van Sickle kills for the 25-22 win. The final set proved to be much more straightforward, as the Wahine breezed through for a 25-15 set four win to clinch the match.
With the win, the Rainbow Wahine’s quest for the Big West regular season title becomes more and more of a reality. With three games left on the schedule, the team will need to fend off UCSB and Cal Poly to take the crown. The Gauchos and Mustangs face off tomorrow night.
The Rainbow Wahine take on UC Riverside at the SRC center on Nov. 10 at 5 p.m. HST.