RIVERSIDE, Calif.—The University of Hawai’i women’s volleyball team (10-5, 4-0 Big West) survived a five-set thriller in reverse sweep fashin on Saturday night at UC Riverside (8-8, 0-4 Big West), 20-25, 19-25, 25-20, 25-19, 15-7 in the SRC Arena. For the Rainbow Wahine, it marked their eighth-straight win. McKenna Granato overcame a rough start to finish with a match-high 22 kills while Casey Castillo and Emily Maglio both finished with 14 kills apiece as the Rainbow Wahine remained unbeaten in conference.
Granato finished strong, pummelling 13 kills with no errors in the final two sets. She finished with her sixth double-double of the season with 11 digs to go with her 22 kills. She also added a pair of blocks and an assist for a match-high 23.0 points.
Castillo hit .500 for the match, with 14 kills and three errors in 22 attacks. She was steady throughout the match and added three digs and two blocks. For the sixth time this year, she had double-digits in kills and ended the match just one kill short of tying her career-high.
Maglio finished with double-digit kills for the sixth straight match and 11th time this year. Her 14 kills against the Highlanders pushed her past the 600 career kill mark. She entered the match needing just 10 to hit the milestone mark as she finished the night with 604 career kills. Maglio also led UH with three blocks while posting two digs.
Savanah Kahakai continued her march up the UH career-dig ladder, passing former UH All-American Kanoe Kamana’o for No. 6 on UH’s career dig list. Kahakai needed just four digs entering tonight’s match to tie Kamana’o at 1,220. Kahakai finished the match with 15 digs which brings her career total to 1,231. She is now chasing Kanani Danielson who is at No. 5 in UH career digs with 1,233. It was the 11th time this year and her fifth-straight match that Kahakai has had 10+ digs.
Tying her career-high in digs tonight was Clare-Marie Anderson who finished the match with 10 digs for the third time this season and fourth time in her career.
Iosia dished out 53 assists in the match while contributing with a kill, seven digs and a block.
After Hawai’i stumbled in the middle of the first set, UH finished the match out-hitting UC Riverside, .248-to-.203. And, for the first time this season, the ‘Bows won a game that they were out-blocked in, 8.0-to-5.0. It was the first time since UH returned to the Big West in 2012 that the Highlanders were able to win a set off the Rainbow Wahine in Riverside.
In the first set, Hawai’i led by as much as four at 10-6, but then the Highlanders started to chip away. UCR tied the ‘Bows at 12-12 but Hawai’i then got things going again to jump out to a 17-12 lead. UH led 18-13, but Highlanders then caught fire as they went on a 5-0 run to tie the set at 18-18. The two teams tied again at 19-19 before UCR would pull away on a 5-to-1 run to take the first set, 25-20.
The second set, after four ties to start the frame, the Highlanders took an early lead and never looked back. UC Riverside went up by as much as six points late and rolled to a 25-19 win in Set 2.
The Rainbow Wahine came out of the break and started to battle back in a set that saw eight ties and six lead changes. Late in the frame, the score was knotted at 17-17, but UH then won eight of the next 11 points to win their first set, 25-20.
The ‘Bows took that momentum into the fourth set which they led from the get-go. UH jumped out to a 3-0 lead to start the set and never looked back, pulling away to win 25-19 to even the match at 2-2.
In the fifth set and the race to 15 points, the ‘Bows got out of the chute fast. They took an early lead at 3-2 and never trailed again. Iosia put the match away with a four-point service run that pushed UH’s lead to 10-4 from which the Highlanders could not recover from. Granato cranked up the heat in the final frame to drill seven kills to lead the ‘Bows to their second five-set win this season. It was the fifth five set match that Hawai’i has played this year.
UC Riverside was led by Kaiulani Ahuna’s 21 kills and Yuliya Ushakova’s five blocks in the loss.
The Rainbow Wahine will now return home to take on UC Santa Barbara on Friday, Oct. 6 and Cal Poly on Saturday, Oct. 7. Both matches will start at 7:00 p.m.