Senior All-American hitter Emily Hartong had a match-high 25 kills to lead No. 6 to its 13th consecutive win Saturday as the Rainbow Wahine turned back UC Irvine 25-16, 25-17, 22-25, 25-15 in a Big West volleyball match in Irvine, Calif.
Freshman hitter Nikki Taylor added 10 kills and junior middle Kalei Adolpho finished with seven kills with no errors on 10 swings for Hawaii (15-1, 4-0), which had won its past four matches in straight sets. The Wahine ran their series record against the Anteaters (9-8, 0-3) to 30-0.
Hartong recorded her eighth double-double of the season when finishing with 11 digs. She also was in on five of Hawaii’s 12 blocks.
Finishing with her fourth double-double was Wahine senior setter Mita Uiato (46 assists, 11 digs), who also had four kills with no errors on four attempts. Sophomore hitter Tai Manu-Olevao added eight kills and nine digs.
UCI, which had pushed Hawaii to five sets last year in Irvine, got 11 kills each from Cassidy Pickrell, Aly Squires and Arielle Manz. Pickrell also had three of the Anteaters’ seven aces.
Hawaii appeared on the verge of its fifth consecutive sweep when winning the first two sets fairly convincingly. The Anteaters jumped out to a 7-1 lead in Set 3 and the Wahine didn’t take their first lead until 16-15 on a kill by Hartong.
It would be tied five times after that, the last at 20, with UCI using a 4-0 run to pull away for good. Hawaii held off two set points when closing to 24-22 on kills by Taylor and Hartong; Squires ended it with a kill, forcing Set 4
The Wahine had not lost a set since Sept. 20 when dropping Sets 3 and 4 in a 3-2 win over then-No. 23 Creighton at the Shocker Classic in Wichita, Kan.
Hawaii returns home to host UC Santa Barbara Friday and Cal Poly Saturday. Both matches are scheduled for 7 p.m at the Stan Sheriff Center.