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Hawaii volleyball team sweeps UCLA for Outrigger title

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    Hawaii’s Rika Okino attempts to save the ball during the second set of Saturday’s match against the UCLA Bruins.

Make it three tournament titles in three weeks for the No. 18 Hawaii volleyball team.

The Rainbow Wahine again displayed a knack for rising up to challenge a marquee opponent, as they swept longtime rival UCLA 25-15, 25-22, 25-23 tonight at the Stan Sheriff Center.

After picking up its first Outrigger Hotels and Resorts Volleyball Challenge title since 2015, UH (9-0) will take its unbeaten record to the mainland for its toughest test yet, the Baylor tournament next weekend.

Junior hitter Jolie Rasmussen missed her second straight match with an injured right ankle. But UH was able to snap a four-game losing streak to the Bruins, and even the all-time series at 38 wins apiece.

Hawaii freshman hitter Hanna Hellvig was named the tournament MVP and was joined by hitter Brooke Van Sickle and middle Amber Igiede on the all-tournament team.

UH came out on a mission, serving tough and clicking on all cylinders in hitting .455 in the opening set. Middle Sky Williams and Hellvig each put down four kills in the frame.

The Wahine started the second just as effectively, but UCLA finally seemed to settle down and eked ahead at 10-9. UH recaptured momentum with McKenna Ross’ second-effort kill from the left during a 6-0 run to go ahead 15-10. Four straight kills, the last by Van Sickle, made it 22-13. The Bruins rallied with a 9-1 run to within a point, 23-22, before UH closed it on a Williams kill of an overpass.

Setter Bailey Choy made a one-handed diving save near press row, leading to a Hellvig kill, and Ross followed with an emphatic putdown of a Bruins overpass for a 9-7 lead. UCLA rallied to tie it at 13, but Igiede’s block solo put the hosts back up. The teams remained knotted until 22-all. Hellvig’s ace gave UH a 23-22 edge and the Wahine took two of the next three points on UCLA attack and service errors.

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