UH rallies to avoid big upset vs. Cal State Fullerton
HONOLULU—The No. 11 University of Hawaii women's volleyball team (13-2, 3-1 Big West) rallied for the reverse sweep against Cal State Fullerton, 22-25, 20-25, 25-23, 25-15, 15-12 on Saturday night at the Stan Sheriff Center. Senior Norene Iosia came through in the clutch as she put the 'Bows on her back and helped to lead the charge as she reverted to her role of setter/outside hitter in the third set. She helped spark Hawai'i's comeback finishing just one kill shy of recording her sixth career triple-double. In all, four Rainbow Wahine tallied double-doubles in the five set match.
Iosia recorded 26 assists with season-highs of 17 digs and nine kills. She was also in on one block and had a pair of service aces en route to the come-from-behind win. It marked her eighth double-double of the season and her 52nd of her career.
Freshman outside hitter Hanna Hellvig led UH with 16 kills and tied her career-high with 20 digs. It marked her eighth-straight match with double-digit kills and 12th time overall this year. She has led UH in kills in seven out of the last eight matches. It is the sixth time that Hellvig has posted double-figures in digs and it was her fifth double-double of the year.
Freshman Amber Igiede recorded her first career double-double with a career-high 10 blocks to go with her 10 kills. She is the first Rainbow Wahine to record 10 blocks since Emily Maglio accomplished the feat with 10 blocks at CSUN on Oct. 14, 2017.
Senior setter Bailey Choy was the fourth Rainbow Wahine to tally a double-double with a team-high 28 assists and 16 digs.
Also helping spark the 'Bows comeback was freshman OH/MB Braelyn Akana. Akana came off the bench and started the final three sets. After seeing limited action through the first 14 matches, she was key in UH's rally, posting six kills, four blocks, four digs and an assist.
In the first set, the Titans took control of the set early and held off the 'Bows. CSUF scored four-straight points to extend their lead to 21-16. UH was unable to gain any traction. The 'Bows fought of two set points, but the Titans snapped their 39-set losing streak to UH with a 25-22 win over UH. It was the first time they've taken a set from UH in Honolulu sine Nov. 21, 2012.
Hawai'i led early by five points at 11-6, but a 6-to-0 run by the Titans gave them the lead at 12-11. From there, CSUF started to pull away, to take a five point lead, 19-14. Fullerton then cruised to win the frame 25-20.
Things were looking bleak for the 'Bows heading into the third set. But UH shuffled things and tried to make adjustments with Akana starting at outside hitter. UH then shifted back to last year's 6-2 offense with Iosia going all the way around as the opposite when in the front row. It took a little while to adjust to the change, and midway through the frame, Fullerton held built a five point lead three different times, the last at 18-13. The shuffling eventually paid off. UH's backs were against the proverbial wall. Hawai'i rallied and finally was able to catch the Titans at 21-21 and then retake the lead at 22-21 on back-to-back Iosia service aces. UH eventually took Set 3 and started to turn the tide, 25-23.
Hawai'i hit their stride in the fourth set. UH jumped out to a 4-0 lead with Iosia serving to start the set and never looked back as they led from wire-to-wire to tie the match at 2-2 with a 25-15 win in Set 4.
The Rainbow Wahine took their momentum into the fifth set and led by as many as six points at 13-7, but Fullerton would not go down easy. The Titans scored four straight points to trim their deficit to two points at 13-11. But an Igiede kill and an attack error from CSUF ended the match with the 'Bows holding off the Titans, 15-12.
Hawai'i's Tiffany Westerberg got her first career start at outside hitter. For the first time this season, UH started five freshmen. UH was without the services of outside hitters Jolie Rasmussen and Brooke Van Sickle due to injury.
UH's block got back on track as the team tallied 14.0 blocks to CSUF's 9.0. Hawai'i hit a season-low .154 but held the Titans to a .109 hitting percentage.
Prior to the Cal State Fullerton match, UH hosted its annual Alumnae Game. Over 30 Rainbow Wahine alumnae participated in the festivities including current UH coaches Robyn Ah Mow and Angelica Ljungqvist and director of operations, Faith Ma'afala. The White team won in three sets, 25-21, 20-25, 15-8. Angel Gaskin led all players with 17 kills while Savanah Kahakai had 12 kills. Members of the 1979 AIAW National Championship team—UH's first national championship team.
Hawai'i will head back on the road for a couple of huge conference matches at Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara who remain unbeaten in the Big West. UH will take on the Mustangs on Oct. 11 and UCSB on Oct. 12. Both matches are slated to start at 4:00 p.m. HT>