(Hawaii Athletics) - The University of Hawai'i women's volleyball team (16-7, 12-2 Big West) dropped the first set, but then rolled on to defeat Long Beach State in four sets, 19-25, 25-21, 25-17, 25-19. Senior McKenna Granato became just the 20th Rainbow Wahine in UH history to record 1,000 career kills. She recorded her 10th double-double of the season as she led the 'Bows to victory on Saturday night at the Walter Pyramid in Long Beach, Calif.
Granato got off to a slow start, tallying just three kills with six errors in 19 swings for a -.158 hitting percentage through the first two sets. But finished strong and turned things around, posting five kills with no errors in the third set and finished the game with a team-high 11 kills. On the same night, she also recorded her 700th career dig early in the first set. She finished the match with 1,006 career kills and 711 career digs. She entered the match needing just five kills to hit the 1,000 kill milestone. Granato accomplished the feat on her second kill in the third set.
Norene Iosia returned to her hometown and recorded her 17th double-double of the year with 18 assists and 15 digs. She filled her stat line with six kills, four service aces—including three-straight aces early in the third set—and two blocks.
Natasha Burns came through pounding eight kills and two blocks, while McKenna Ross also added eight kills on the outside. Ross also had four digs and a block.
Middle hitter Skyler Williams came in off the bench, starting the second set and provided a spark for the slow starting 'Bows. She finished the match hitting a match-high .500 hitting percentage with a season-high seven kills and no errors on 14 swings. Williams was also in on two blocks.
Libero Tita Akiu notched her 23rd double-digit dig match of the season with 10 digs plus two assists and two service aces. Faith Ma'afala led UH with 27 assists and had five digs in the match.
LBSU took Set 1, 25-19 as UH was out-hit, .310-to-.093. The 49ers led from wire-to-wire in the first set and led by as many as eight points at 20-12. The 'Bows were finally able to score some points on a three-point Ma'afala serving run late to close within 23-19 before the Beach closed out the set, 25-19 on a Tyler Spriggs kill.
The second set was a back-and-forth battle with seven ties and three lead changes. LBSU jumped out to an early 7-4 lead. But Rika Okino served four-straight points as UH went on a 5-to-0 run to leapfrog into the lead, 9-7. LBSU and UH were tied at 12, 13, 14, and 17, but UH slowly pulled away down the stretch to even the match at 1-1, taking the second set, 22-18.
The third set started out with runs on both sides, highlighted by Iosia's three-straight aces that gave UH a 9-6 lead. But the Beach rallied back, knotting the score at 11-11. Hawai'i inched its way away from LBSU and finished on an 8-to-1 run to go up 2-1, with a 25-17 win in Set 3.
The Beach controlled things early, although the score was tied six times, LBSU held the lead until it was 10-8. Behind the serving of Granato and Akiu, UH went on an 8-to-1 run that allowed the 'Bows to tie and then overtake the Beach with a 15-11 lead. LBSU could not recover as UH coasted to a 25-19 Set 4 win to capture the match.
The Beach was led by Spriggs' 18 kill and Mina Andjelkovic who dished out 29 assists. Emma Kirst and YiZhi Xue both had three blocks apiece.
Hawai'i ended up posting 51 kills to LBSU's 49 but the Beach out hit UH, .221-to-.203. The 'Bows had two more assists, 48-to-46 and out-served their opponents, 8-to-2 in service aces. Long Beach State won the dig battle, 63-to-57 and had one more block than the 'Bows, 6.0-to-5.0.
Hawai'i will remain on the road to play Pepperdine on Tuesday, Nov. 6 in Malibu, Calif. It will be a battle between two former UH assistants who served under former Hawai'i head coach Dave Shoji (Scott Wong and Robyn Ah Mow-Santos). It's the first time since 2011 that UH will be playing a non-conference opponent during the conference season. Next week, UH will have its bye weekend before hosting its final homestand of the season the following week.