UH women's volleyball sweeps UC Irvine on the road
IRVINE, Calif.—The No. 21 University of Hawaii women's volleyball team (18-3, 8-2 Big West) swept UC Irvine (4-16, 1-7 Big West), 27-25, 25-17, 25-21 on Saturday night at the Bren Events Center. It marked UH's fourth sweep in their last five matches. The Rainbow Wahine featured a balanced scoring attack with 35 kills, 13.0 blocks and a season-high 12 service aces. Junior middle blocker Skyler Williams led UH with nine kills and seven blocks while senior outside hitter McKenna Ross added eight kills. The win avenged Hawai'i's home loss to the Anteaters earlier this season which snapped UH's 40-match win streak over UCI on Oct. 4.
Williams hit .500 for the match with just one error in 16 attacks. It marked the eighth time this season and fourth-straight match that she's recorded five or more blocks. She had a match-high 13.0 points.
Senior setter/outside hitter Norene Iosia recorded her 13th double-double of the season and 57th of her career as she posted 14 assists and 10 digs. Iosia also propelled herself up the UH career record book in service aces. Her two aces to start the second set allowed her to pass former UH standouts Cheri Boyer (1988-91) and Amber Kaufman (2006-09) who were at No. 6 with 120 aces to tie Aneli Cubi-Otineru (2007-09) at No. 5 with 121 career service aces. Iosia also remains at No. 9 in career assists with 2,933 and No. 12 with 1,070 career digs.
Fellow senior setter Bailey Choy and junior defensive specialist Kyra Hanawahine both recorded UH career-highs with four service aces apiece. Choy, a transfer from Utah, also had 14 assists and a dig, while Hanawahine, a transfer from Oregon, added three digs.
Junior libero Rika Okino had a season-high 12 digs—just one short of her career-high. It marked the fifth time this season that she's come through with double-digit digs. She added four assists and tied her career-high with two service aces.
In all, seven Rainbow Wahine recorded at least one kill and one block each. Five different 'Bows also had at least one service ace. As a team, UH had a 12-to-3 advantage in service aces while out-blocking the Anteaters, 13.0-to-3.0. Although UH had the advantage in hitting percentage, .189-to-.159, the Anteaters had 40 kills to UH's 35.
The first set was a battle. UC Irvine jumped out to an early 7-2 lead forcing UH to call an timeout. UH was able to take their first lead of the set at 11-10. But the Anteaters see-sawed back in front to take an 18-16 lead. The set was tied 14 times and had seven lead changes. UC Irvine would stave off two set points, but a service ace by Hellvig ended the first set, 27-25.
The Rainbow Wahine led from wire-to-wire in Set 2. UH got off to a much better start in Set 2 with a 10-2 lead. The Anteaters, however, would continue to fight, closing to within three points of the 'Bows at 18-15. But UH would score seven of the last nine points to capture Set 2, 25-17. An Okino service ace ended the set to give the 'Bows a 2-0 lead in the match.
In the third set, Hawaii went on a 5-to-0 run with Choy behind the service line which gave UH a 10-6 lead. The Anteaters would rally to tie the set at 14-14. The set would be tied twice more, the last coming at 19-19. From that point, Williams picked up her ninth kill and Choy stymied UCI with two service aces which sandwiched an Iosia block to give UH a 23-20 lead. Hawai'i would go on to win the third set, 25-21 and the match, 3-0.
UCI was led by Abby Marjama and Cassie Stewart who both had 10 kills each. Chloe Owens had a match-high 13 digs and Kelly Negron had a match-high 30 assists.
The Rainbow Wahine return home to host a pair of pivotal conference matches this coming week against the two-league leading teams. Hawai'i will first take on UC Santa Barbara on Friday, Nov. 1 at 7:00 p.m.. UH will then battle Cal Poly on Sunday, Nov. 3 at 5:00 p.m.