(14) Rainbow Wahine sweep UCR, tied atop BWC

after the NCAA Women's Volleyball Match between the Pepperdine Waves and the Hawaii Rainbow Wahine on Saturday, Sept. 17th, 2016 at the Stan Sheriff Center in Honolulu, HI. (Photo by Andrew Lee / HMSWIRE)

RIVERSIDE, Calif.—The No. 14 University of Hawai’i women’s volleyball team (15-5, 8-1 Big West) swept UC Riverside (6-14, 1-7 BWC) on the road, 25-10, 25-18, 25-22. McKenna Granato pounded a match-high 12 kills while Nikki Taylor added 11 kills and four blocks. Emily Maglio anchored the net with a match-high six blocks as the ‘Bows out-blocked the Highlanders 11.0-to-3.0 on Friday night at the SRC Arena in Riverside, Calif.

Granato hit .435 with 12 kills and just two errors in 23 attacks. She also had a pair of aces and a block on the night. The sophomore outside hitter now has nine double-digit kill games this season.

Taylor’s 11 kills was more than enough to push her to No. 12 alone on the Hawai’i all-time career kills record book. She entered the game needing just seven kills to tie former UH All-American Diana Jessie, who played from 1984-87, at 1,266. Taylor now has 1,270 career kills. She is now just seven kills shy of tying former All-American Emily Hartong at No. 11 with 1,277 total kills. Taylor also recorded seven digs and four aces to fill her stat line against the Highlanders.

Maglio led UH’s block party with six, but a total of eight Rainbow Wahine tallied at least one block in the match. Maglio hit .462 for the match, with seven kills and just one error in 13 swings.

Libero Savanah Kahakai led UH with 12 digs and had six assists. It marked her 15th match this season that she has recorded double-figures in digs.

In the first set, UH hit .500 putting down 16 kills with no errors in 32 attacks while holding the Highlanders to a .000 hitting percentage. The Rainbow Wahine were led by Annie Mitchem who buried five kills while Maglio led the team at the net with three blocks.

The second set was a much closer affair, with the Highlanders matching UH’s effort early on. The frame was tied at 15-15 before the ‘Bows went on a 10-to-3 run to pull away down the stretch for a 25-18 win in the second set as UH took a 2-0 lead.

The Highlanders took their first lead of the match at 7-6 in the third set and extended their lead to 12-8 before the Rainbow Wahine were able to gain some traction scoring the next five of six points to knot the score at 13-13. Taylor served four points—including her fourth ace—to give UH some breathing room at 20-16. The ‘Bows would go on the capture the third set and the match on a Granato kill that gave UH a 25-22 win.

For the match, Hawai’i out-hit UC Riverside, .340-to-.084. It was just the sixth time this season that the team hit above .300 for the match. It also marked the 10th time that UH has recorded double-digits in blocks—including the last four-straight matches.

The Highlanders were led by Mickayla Sherman with 11 kills and Meg Graham who had three blocks. Maddie Hubbell recorded a match-high 18 digs to lead UCR.

With the win Hawai’i improved to 8-1 in the Big West and is now tied for the league lead with Long Beach State after the 49ers fell at UC Irvine in five sets on Friday night.

The Rainbow Wahine will stay on the road to take on Cal State Fullerton at Titan Gym on Friday night at 4:00 pm HST.

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