(15) Rainbow Wahine blast rival Long Beach State

Courtesy: Hawai'i Athletics

HONOLULU—The No. 15 University of Hawai’i women’s volleyball team (17-5, 10-1 Big West) played arguably their best match this season in a quick dismantling of Long Beach State (16-9, 10-2 BWC) in straight-sets, 25-13, 25-15, 25-16, to take sole-possession of first place in the Big West on Friday night at the Stan Sheriff Center. Annie Mitchem tied her career-high with 13 kills while Emily Maglio added 10 and recorded a match-high four blocks.

Mitchem’s 13 kills were also a match-high as she tallied a season-high hitting percentage of .619 with no errors on 21 attacks. Mitchem also added four digs and two blocks for a match-high 15.0 points. It marked the sixth time this season that she has posted double-digits in kills.

Maglio hit .450 with just one error in 20 swings. It marked Maglio’s eighth match with double-figures in kills. She patrolled the net, helping the ‘Bows out-block the Beach, 8.0-to-3.0. Maglio also added three digs.

Nikki Taylor had a quiet night at the net, but spoke volumes from behind the service line, dealing out five aces in the match—three straight in the second and two more in the third. She served a total of 22 times in the sweep. Taylor added six kills, eight digs and a block.

Setter Norene Iosia deftly dished out 33 assists, often serving her hitters up with split blockers or none at all. She finished the match just one dig shy of a double-double and had one block solo on a joust at the net.

Libero Savanah Kahakai flew around the court to pop-up a match-high 16 digs. She also notched an ace and a pair of assists. It was Kahakai’s 17th match with double-digit digs.

In the first set, Hawai’i slowly pulled away in the middle of the set, but then kicked things into overdrive behind the serving of Annie Mitchem. She served seven straight balls which resulted in a 7-0 run and increased UH’s lead to 11 point at 22-11. Maglio paced the ‘Bows pummeling five kills from the middle to propel the ‘Bows to the set 1 win, matching LBSU’s most lop-sided set loss this season

Nikki Taylor forced her will upon the 49ers from behind the service line. She blasted 10 serves—including three straight aces—to give UH an early 11-1 lead to start the second set with a bang. From there, the ‘Bows built as big as a 20-7 lead before Long Beach State was able to rally to score some points down the stretch. UH captured the second set, 25-15 with Mitchem logging five kills in the frame to pace the ‘Bows.

The third set began with three ties early on, but then UH took control and never looked back. Once again, Hawai’i’s Taylor helped to extend their lead with a six-serve streak in which she added two more aces which left UH with a 20-10 lead. LBSU tried to rally late, but UH closed the door with a 25-16 win in the third.

Long Beach State’s Nele Barber, the reigning BWC Player of the Week, led her team with nine kills and 13 digs. Missy Owens had a team-high 21 assists and two blocks.

The win for Hawai’i marked their 16th-straight conference home victory dating back to 2014. At 78 minutes, it also was UH’s quickest win of the season.

The win also brings head coach Dave Shoji‘s career record to 1,196 and now needs just four wins to hit the 1,200 win milestone.

The Rainbow Wahine will have little rest as they take on CSUN (9-15, 4-7 Big West) on Saturday night at 7:00 pm in the Stan Sheriff Center.


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