SANTA BARBARA, Calif.—The No. 8 University of Hawai’i women’s volleyball team swept it’s 16th match of the season, defeating UC Santa Barbara on the road, 25-16, 25-21, 25-19 on Saturday night at the Thunderdome in Santa Barbara, Calif. With the win, the Rainbow Wahine finish their regular season going undefeated in the Big West Conference with a perfect 16-0 record. UH improved to 26-1 overall.
It is the 15th time in program history that Hawai’i has gone undefeated in the conference season. It is the fourth time that they’ve done so in the Big West and it is the second time since UH rejoined the BWC that they’ve run the table after going 18-0 in 2012. Hawai’i is just the 10th team to go undefeated in the Big West Conference’s history.
UH’s Nikki Taylor led all players with 11 kills and had three blocks, seven digs and a service ace to lead the ‘Bows. Emily Maglio added 10 kills with no errors in 15 swings for a game-high hitting percentage of .769. She also had three blocks to lead UH along with Taylor and Olivia Magill.
Hawai’i cruised to a 25-16 Set 1 win to start the match. UH was able to score in bunches off the serves of Higgins,Kalei Greeley, and Taylor. Taylor led UH with four kills in the first set alone.
In Set 2, Hawai’i jumped out to an 11-point advantage at 20-9 as they closed in on a two set lead. But, the Gauchos made runs of their own, scoring 12 of the next 15 points to almost erase the Rainbow Wahine’s lead. A UCSB service ace by Devin Joos had them trailing by just two points at 23-21 and forced a UH timeout. But the Rainbow Wahine’s Taylor got a kill for set point and UH’s block loomed large as Kendra Koelsch and Emily Maglio combined for the double-block to take the second set, 25-21.
Hawai’i again took an early lead and held on to it for the rest of Set 3 to seal the sweep. But the Gauchos again made a late run to make things interesting. UH led by eight points at 21-13, but UCSB then reeled off five straight points to cut UH’s lead to just three points at 21-18, but UH scored four of the next five points to complete the sweep of the Gauchos.
UCSB’s Jaylen Villanueva led UCSB with seven kills while Phoebe Grunt had a match-high eight blocks.
Prior to the match, the Gauchos conducted their Senior Night ceremonies. UCSB first honored UH’s two seniors, Olivia Magill and Tai Manu-Olevao before recognizing their five seniors who played in their final home match of their careers—Hanna Nielson, Jaylen Villanueva, Britton Taylor, Shauna Klein, and Ali Barbeau.
Hawai’i will now wait to find out where they will play the opening round of the NCAA Tournament on Sunday, Nov. 29 at 9:00 pm (ET).