Brooke Van Sickle put down 16 kills and contributed 11 digs as Hawaii swept Fairfield in the first women’s volleyball match for the Rainbow Wahine in 20 months Friday night.
UH opened its 2021 season with a 25-18, 25-12, 25-18 victory on the first night of the Hawaiian Airlines Rainbow Wahine Classic.
“A lot of new people mixed with some of the returnees,” UH coach Robyn Ah Mow said. “A lot of returnees stepping up and new guys coming in, they’re playing good.”
K.J. Johnson led Fairfield with 13 kills.
Normally the 10,000-seat Stan Sheriff Center would be rollicking for the Wahine season-opener. But spectators were not allowed due to the recent surge in COVID-19 numbers leading to an edict by City and County of Honolulu officials against massed gatherings.
The Stags scored first in all three sets, but their leads were short-lived.
In the first, Hawaii allowed consecutive points by Fairfield just twice with a remarkable 83.3% sideout success rate. Van Sickle had seven digs to go with five kills.
UH’s offense warmed up in the second set, and the Wahine went on a 9-1 scoring run to take control 12-6 on a block by setter Mylana Byrd.
Byrd, an Alabama transfer, filled the stat sheet in her Wahine debut with 35 assists, 4 kills, 8 digs and 2 blocks.
Riley Wagoner contributed 12 kills and 10 digs. Libero Tayli Ikenaga led UH with 12 digs.
Hawaii out-hit Fairfield .330 to .107, and led at the net 9 blocks to 5. Middle Amber Igiede had 8 kills and was in on four of the blocks.
In the first match, Taylor Wolf put down 15 kills as Marquette edged Texas A&M 25-12, 26-28, 25-21, 15-25, 15-13.
Lauren David led the Aggies, also with 15 kills.
On Saturday, Hawaii meets Marquette in a scheduled 7 p.m. start, following Texas A&M and Fairfield at 4:45 p.m.