The No. 21 Hawaii volleyball team took the lead in the Big West Conference title race by dismissing two-time defending champion Cal Poly 25-15, 22-25, 25-20, 25-23 at the Stan Sheriff Center tonight.
A “black-out” crowd of 5,874 saw the Rainbow Wahine (20-3, 10-2 Big West) avenge a sweep loss in San Luis Obispo, Calif., last month and draw even with the Mustangs (16-7, 9-2) in the loss column with four matches to play in the regular season. UC Santa Barbara, which UH beat in five sets on Friday, is also 9-2.
Cal Poly junior hitter Maia Dvoracek had a match-high 29 kills on .254 hitting with 13 digs. She turned back one match point with a kill but the Mustangs committed an overreach violation on the second.
UH prevailed with a well-rounded attack. Freshman Hanna Hellvig led UH with 13 kills on .312 hitting. Hitter Brooke Van Sickle notched her third double-double of the season, 12 kills and 11 digs, and McKenna Ross also double-doubled with 10 kills and 10 digs. Hitter/setter Norene Iosia had 25 assists and 15 digs for her 15th double-double. Libero Rika Okino had 10 digs as UH outdug CP 63-48.
UH committed some unforced errors at the outset, but shook those off to hit .414 in Set 1 while outblocking the Mustangs 4-0. The momentum continued to build into a 10-point lead as UH took the frame going away.
Cal Poly showed its mettle in Set 2, jumping out to a 10-7 advantage. The Mustangs maintained it to UH’s second timeout at 21-17. UH rallied on Bailey Choy’s serve to within 21-20. The run ended when McKenna Ross hit a shot wide. Cal Poly evened up the match at a set apiece by roofing Van Sickle, its fourth of the set after having none in Set 1, while UH had none after four in the first.
Sky Williams’ block solo staked UH to a 7-4 lead to begin Set 3. Consecutive hitting errors by the Mustangs made it 9-4. Maia Dvoracek put down back-to-back balls to get the Mustangs within 12-8 and UH shanked two playable serves, forcing a timeout. UH extended the lead back to five on libero Rika Okino’s ace at 20-15 and rode that to the set.
Iosia’s tough serving helped the Wahine open Set 4 with a 4-0 lead, with Amber Igiede putting down kills from the middle. Igiede slammed down another overpass, Ross hit one off the block, and the Mustangs hit one into the net to make it 8-3. A service ace initially called out was overturned upon review, bringing CP within 12-11. A solo block kept the Mustangs within 15-14 and Van Sickle hit out to knot it at 15. Hellvig hit off the block to regain the lead twice. Cal Poly came back again to tie it at 21 on consecutive kills by Dvoracek. Iosia put down back-to-back kills for a 23-21 lead. Dvoracek was blocked to set up match point.