Hawaii followed a script similar to Friday’s win over UC San Diego to close a Big West road trip with a four-set win over UC Irvine today at the Bren Events Center in Irvine, Calif.
A day after grinding out a comeback win in San Diego, the Rainbow Wahine again dropped the opening set, bounced back in the second, rallied late in the third and pulled away in the fourth to outlast the Anteaters in a 20-25, 25-20, 27-25, 25-15 win.
UH sophomore Riley Wagoner led the Rainbow Wahine with 16 kills, senior Brooke Van Sickle added 14 and sophomore Braelyn Akana contributed a career-high 11 and UH improved to 9-5 overall and 6-0 in Big West play. UH remains tied with UC Santa Barbara atop the conference standings after the Gauchos swept Cal State Fullerton.
UC Irvine entered the match a game behind UH and UCSB but saw a three-match winning streak end in falling to 11-5 overall and 4-2 in the Big West.
UH middle blocker Amber Igiede finished with nine kills while hitting .400 and had an ace late in the fourth set. She was also in on five blocks.
UH hit .207 in the match but 60 digs helped the Wahine hold UC Irvine to .125 hitting. Van Sickle led the Wahine with 15 digs and libero Tayli Ikenaga had 13.
UC Irvine opened up a six-point lead in the first set before UH rallied to close to 17-16. The Anteaters pulled away again with a three-point run capped by an ace by Carly Richter and went on to finish off the set.
The second set was also tight and UC Irvine led 19-18 before UH tied it on a kill by Igiede. Freshman Martyna Leoniak came off the bench to serve and sparked a four-point run as the Wahine took a 23-19 lead and went on to tie the match.
UH took a 16-10 lead in the third set only to see UC Irvine answer with a 7-1 run. There were four more ties before UH earned a swing at set point at 24-23. UC Irvine forced deuce and moved ahead on a missed connection between Igiede and setter Kate Lang. Wagoner got a tip to fall to extend the set and Van Sickle put away back-to-back kills to give UH the set and the lead in the match.
The Wahine took a 14-10 lead in the fourth set and UC Irvine again battled back to close to within a point. A block by Igiede and Wagoner then sparked a 10-1 UH run. Igiede had two kills and an ace in the run and a Van Sickle kill gave UH match point at 24-14. After a UC Irvine block, UH freshman Anna Kiraly ended the match with a solo block of Onye Ofoegbu.
Joy Umeh led UC Irvine with 15 kills, Marianna Bertolone added 10 and Ofoegbu finished nine.
UH returns home to face Cal Poly on Friday and Cal State Bakersfield on Saturday at SimpliFi Arena at Stan Sheriff Center.