Hawai’i captures second-straight Big West championship

Courtesy of Hawai'i Athletics

PISMO BEACH, Calif. – The No. 6 University of Hawai’i Rainbow Wahine repeated as conference champions with a pair of wins over No. 5 Long Beach State in the 2017 Big West Beach Volleyball Tournament Saturday at the Pismo Beach Courts.

The Rainbow Wahine avenged a regular-season loss to the top-seeded 49ers (26-8) with a pair of impressive victories. UH defeated LBSU, 3-2, in a winners bracket meeting before taking down the 49ers, 4-1, in the title match. It capped a perfect 3-0 weekend for the Rainbow Wahine (26-5) who are peaking at the right time with 11 wins in their last 12 matches. The SandBows went through the exact same route as last year’s inaugural title, with an opening day win over Cal Poly and two wins over LBSU.

Emily Maglio and Laurel Weaver were the pivot point at the No. 3 flight, capturing the clinching point in each of the wins, both in straight sets over Anete Brinke and Hailey Harward. The pair improved to 28-3 on the season, as did Ari Homayun and Carly Kan who won both of their matches on Saturday at the No. 4 court. Homayun and Kan have now won 13 straight dual matches, a new UH record.

It was also a record-setting day for senior Nikki Taylor, who earned her 103rd overall win to surpass former partner Katie Spieler for the all-time UH mark. After a disappointing straight-set loss to Cal Poly in Friday’s opening match, an extra-motivated Taylor and partner Ka’iwi Schuchtdominated LBSU’s No. 2 pair of Sasha Karelov and Kobi Pekich, including a 21-18, 21-12 win to give UH the first point in the title match.

Next up for Hawai’i is Selection Sunday, slated to be webcast at 1:00 p.m. HT on NCAA.com. The Rainbow Wahine are vying for a spot in the NCAA Tournanment, which will feature the top eight  teams nationally in a three-day double-elimination tournament, scheduled for May 5-7 in Gulf Shores, Ala.

Semifinal Match
Hawai’i 3, Long Beach State 2
1. Nele Barber/Rachel Nieto (LBSU) def. Mikayla Tucker/Morgan Martin (UH) 21-9, 21-19
2. Schucht/Taylor (UH) def. Karelov/Pekich (LBSU) 21-14, 21-18
3. Maglio/Weaver (UH) def. Brinke/Harward (LBSU) 21-13, 21-19
4. Kan/Homayun (UH) def. Morea Wagner/Heather Weiss (LBSU) 21-18, 21-16
5. Megan Kruidhof/Jenelle Hudson (LBSU) def. Hannah Zalopany/Amy Ozee (UH) 21-14, 26-24
Order of Finish: 1, 2, 4, 3, 5,

Championship Match
Hawai’i 4, Long Beach State 1
1. Tucker/Martin (UH) def. Barber/Nieto (LBSU) 13-21, 21-19, 15-11
2. Schucht/Taylor def. (UH) Karelov/Pekich (LBSU) 21-18, 21-12
3. Maglio/Weaver (UH) def. Brinke/Harward (LBSU) 22-20, 21-18
4. Kan/Homayun (UH) def. Wagner/Weiss (LBSU) 21-19, 21-14
5. Kruidhof/Hudson (LBSU) Zalopany/Ozee (UH) 23-21, 16-21, 15-10
Order of Finish: 4, 2, 3, 1, 5


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