Rainbow Wahine down top-ranked Texas

Dave Shoji / Hawai'i Athletics
Dave Shoji / Hawai'i Athletics

HONOLULU – The No. 11 University of Hawai’i Rainbow Wahine volleyball team sent shockwaves through the nation on Friday night, taking down defending national champion and top-ranked Texas on opening night of the Chevron Rainbow Wahine Invitational. 8,639 fans walked through the Stan Sheriff Center turnstiles to witness the 25-19, 19-25, 27-25, 25-16 victory.

Emily Hartong led the ‘Bows (1-0) with 18 kills, seven digs, and a pair of blocks, and freshman Nikki Taylor drilled 10 kills and posted six blocks in her first match as a Rainbow Wahine. Ali Longo added a match-high 17 digs and Kalei Adolpho posted seven blocks, also a match-high.

Bailey Webster recorded a match-high 19 kills for the Longhorns (0-1) who dropped their season opener.

Set three proved to be the tightest of the match as UH staved off a Texas rally for a thrilling 27-25 win. Jade Vorster‘s (7 kills, 3 blks) solo stuff broke a 10-10 tie, and back-to-back kills by Taylor bolstered UH’s lead to 16-11. UT rallied to cut the lead to 18-16 and force a Hawai’i timeout, then later a Pilar Victoria (10 kills, 4 digs) kill evened the set at 19-19.

With UH then facing a Texas set point, Taylor and Tai Manu-Olevau (8 kills, 8 digs) came through with block assists to tie the match, then later Hartong rocketed consecutive kills to ice the set and give the ‘Bows a 2-1 lead.

The Rainbow Wahine carried the momentum into set four where they took care of business and sealed their historic win.

The ‘Bows got off to a fast start, grabbing an early lead in set one and never looking back. Hartong drilled six kills in the opening frame as UH led by as much as six points en route to the early set lead. UT shaved the lead to 13-10 on a Hannah Allison (3 kills, 6 digs) kill, but Hartong drilled a pair of her own to extend UH’s lead to 16-11.

Set two was even in the early going but after a Webster kill, the Longhorns held a 12-7 lead. The ‘Bows rallied and after kills by Adolpho, Hartong, and Vorster had cut the lead to 13-11. The Longhorns stemmed the tide though and cruised to the second-set victory to even the match.

In the earlier match of the invitational San Diego defeated UTEP in four sets, 25-14, 22-25, 25-23, 25-20.

UH next plays on Saturday at 8:30 p.m. against UTEP. On the docket for the early matches are Texas vs. UTEP at 11:00 a.m. and Texas vs. San Diego at 6:30 p.m.

*Courtesy of Hawai’i Athletics*

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