Rainbow Wahine volleyball wins Big West title on senior night
HONOLULU—The No. 18 University of Hawaii women's volleyball team won the Big West Conference title outright with a three-set sweep over Long Beach State, 25-18, 25-12, 25-20 on Friday night in front of a sold out Stan Sheriff Center. Hawai'i improved to 24-3 overall and 14-2 in the Big West to capture their first title since 2016. Friday night was also Senior Night as the 'Bows honored their five seniors—Bailey Choy, Norene Iosia, Rika Okino, McKenna Ross and Kirsten Sibley,
For Hawaii, it marked their ninth Big West title and fifth since rejoining the Big West in 2012. It is UH's 24th overall conference title (15 WAC regular season titles). It also marked the first conference crown for third year head coach Robyn Ah Mow.
The Rainbow Wahine finished the season winning their last 11-straight matches. UH's 24 wins is also the most for Ah Mow in a season after earning 20 wins in 2017 and 18 victories last year. The 24 wins is also the most wins for UH since the 2015 season. The win was UH's seventh-straight over Long Beach State dating back to 2016.
It was the women's volleyball team's 15th sellout in the 25 year history of the Stan Sheriff Center. It was the 'Bows first sellout since UH vs. UCLA on Sept. 7, 2013.
Hawaii had a balanced attack all night with six different players recording at least five kills each. McKenna Ross and Brooke Van Sickle led UH with nine kills apiece. Ross also added six digs, two assists, a service ace and a block. Van Sickle hit .350 for the night with two errors in 20 swings. She added eight digs, two blocks and two aces on the night.
Norene Iosia had a career-high seven service aces and moved past current associate coach Angelica Ljungqvist up to No. 4 on the career service ace list. Iosia now has 134 career aces. Her seven aces in the match is the fourth most in a single-game in UH history. Iosia had a team-high 20 assists and and five blocks to go with five kills and five digs.
As a team on offense, UH out hit the Beach, 40-to-31 in kills and .333-to-.130 in hitting percentage. The 'Bows had 12 service aces—tying their season high—to LBSU's four—three from Tia Chavira. The 'Bows edged LBSU, 36-to-35 in digs, but out-blocked the Beach, 9.0-to-6.0.
The Beach (12-16, 9-7 BWC) took an early 2-1 lead. After a sideout, with Amber Igiede serving UH scored two points to take a 4-2 lead and never looked back. The Rainbow Wahine slowly pulled away to take Set 1, 25-18.
The second set had LBSU score the first point. But then UH went on a 7-to-0 run behind the serving of Iosia who stymied the Beach's defense with four aces. LBSU rallied to score five straight points to close to within two points at 9-7. Hawaii however would go on a 7-to-1 run with Bailey Choy serving four points. UH would finish going away, scoring seven of the last eight points. In the second set alone, Iosia recorded five service aces. UH cruised to a 25-12 win in Set 2.
Set three was closer, but the 'Bows never trailed. With UH leading 15-13, the 'Bows went on a 6-to-1 run to extend their lead to 21-14. UH would coast to a 25-20 win in Set 3 to complete the sweep over the Beach.
The Beach was led by Kashauna Williams who had a match-high 10 kills and Carly Aigner-Swesey had a match-high 28 assists and was tied with teammate Hailey Harward with a match-high 10 digs apiece.
The Rainbow Wahine has a bye week coming up before finding out where they will play in the NCAA tournament first and second round. The NCAA selection show will be on Sunday, Dec. 1 at 8:30 p.m. ET on ESPNU.