Rainbow Wahine volleyball takes down UCLA for title
HONOLULU—The No. 18 University of Hawaii women's volleyball team (9-0) swept UCLA (5-3), 25-15, 25-22, 25-23 to win the Outrigger Hotel and Resorts Volleyball Challenge Championship. Freshman outside hitter Hanna Hellvig recorded her second-straight double-double en route to earning tournament Most Valuable Player honors on Saturday night at the Stan Sheriff Center.
The win snapped UH's four-match losing streak to the Bruins and evened the series history against the longtime rival to 38-38. UH's last win over UCLA had come in 2013. It marked just the Rainbow Wahine's second sweep of the season, with the other coming against Sacramento State last week.
It was also the Rainbow Wahine's largest crowd since 2013. Saturday night's tickets issued was 8,657, the most since the 2013 Senior Night game against CSUN on Nov. 23, 2013 when the SSC had 9,458 tickets issued.
For Hellvig, it was her first tournament MVP award after teammates Jolie Rasmussen earned it the first week and Skyler Williams was the MVP last week. Hellvig recorded a match-high 11 kills and a team-high 12 digs to go with three blocks, two service aces, and an assist. For the three-day tournament, the rookie from Sweden ammassed 37 kills, 38 digs and 13 blooks.
Williams had a strong match, hitting .500 with nine kills and two errors in 14 attempts. She also was in on one block. Freshman middle blocker Amber Igiede was solid patrolling the net, logging a match-high seven blocks (two solo). She also had five kills. Igiede was named to the all-tournament team.
Also earning all-tourney honors was Brooke Van Sickle who had eight kills and three blocks. She was two kills shy of a double-double as she tallied 10 digs in the match with a service ace. She hit .318 on the night with just one error in 22 attacks.
The senior setting duo of Norene Iosia and Bailey Choy combined for 35 assists. Iosia posted a match-high 19 assists with seven digs and Choy added 16 assists with two aces and three digs.
In the first set, Hawai'i came out firing on all cylinders. UH jumped out to a quick 4-1 lead on four-straight points highlighted by three Hellvig kills with McKenna Ross serving. Later UH went on another four-point run on Riley Wagoner's serve to give UH a 10-4 lead. Hawai'i ended the set on three-straight points coming off a Wagoner kill and back-to-back blocks—the first was a solo by Igiede and the second a double-block by Igiede and Hellvig. Hellvig and Skyler led UH after one set with four kills apiece. Igiede led UH w/four blocks alone in the first set.
UH took their momentum into the second set, as they jumped out to a 7-3 lead. But after an early Bruin timeout, UCLA caught fire and scored five straight points to take an 8-7 lead which forced UH to call a timeout. After a few sideouts, UH went on a 6-to-0 run on Iosia's serve allowing UH to tie and then overtake the Bruins with a 15-10 lead. Later, UH went on a five-point run with Choy serving to give UH a 22-13 lead. But UCLA would not go down, as they capitalized on three UH errors in the midst of a 9-to-1 run. But UH showed its resiliency and was able to close out the set on a UCLA serving error followed by a kill by Williams to capture Set 2, 25-22.
The third set was a much tighter affair with 13 ties and seven lead changes. The two teams traded points early, but on Van Sickle's serve, UH was able to score four-straight to take a 10-7 lead. But that lead would evaporate as UCLA went on a 4-to-1 run of their own to knot the score at 12-12. The lead see-sawed back and forth until UCLA was able to go up by two at 22-20. But UH then reeled off four points with Hellvig behind the service like to catch and pass the Bruins to go up, 24-22. Hawai'i eventually won 25-23 seal the sweep.
UCLA's Savvy Simo led the Bruins with 10 kills and their libero Kelli Barry had a match-high 13 digs. Jenny Mosser led UCLA with three blocks.
The Rainbow Wahine will now head on their first preseason roadtrip since the 'Bows traveled to the 2013 Shocker Classic in Wichita, Kansas. Hawai'i will be heading to Waco, Texas for a pair of games against ranked opponents—No. 21 Missouri on Saturday, Sept. 21 and No. 5 Baylor on Sunday, Sept. 22.
2019 Outrigger Hotels and Resorts Volleyball Challenge
Kazna Tarawhiti, Utah Valley
Alexa Hasting, West Virginia
Savvy Smo, UCLA
Mac May, UCLA
Amber Igiede, Hawai'i
Brooke Van Sickle, Hawai'i
Most Valuable Player
Hanna Helvig, Hawai'i