UCI women’s volleyball team (21-7, 9-6) was swept by the University of Hawaii at Mānoa (20-7, 14-2) at the Bren on Saturday night.
The Rainbow Wahine outdid the ‘Eaters in every statistical category, although junior opposite Harlee Kekauoha had the second highest hitting percentage of everyone on the court (.414) and the most kills out of both teams (12).
The first set started off with a long rally before Hawaii took the lead. Their lead was short lived, however, when a Kekauoha kill pulled the ‘Eaters ahead 4-3.
The Rainbow Wahine gained momentum later in the set, when they pulled ahead 14-13 and the teams remained neck-and-neck until a series of Hawaii kills and a Haley DeSales error ended the match at 25-20.
The second set was even closer, with 12 tie scores.
The largest gap in the score was in the middle of the set when a Hawaii block put the Wahine up 14-9, but the ‘Eaters recovered quickly and tied it once more at 15-15 after an out-of-bounds Hawaii attack. Although the score remained close for the rest of the set, the ‘Eaters could not pull ahead, and a Hawaii block ended the tight set 26-24.
The third set was much more lopsided with only three tie scores and no lead changes. The intensity of the last set had seemed to tire the ‘Eaters out, as they only managed nine kills in comparison to the Rainbows’ 13, and they committed 10 errors, double the Rainbows’ five.
Toward the end of the set, Hawaii junior outside Kalei Greeley suffered a left leg injury. After that, the ‘Eaters only managed to earn two more points before the Wahine had a two-point rally and won the match with a kill, 25-16.
Head Coach Ashley Hain identified a lesson learned from the game as “just how important our serve and pass is…the people that needed to step up didn’t, and we talked about ways to fix that, but it’s within our control so that’s the good news.”
The ‘Eaters’ next game, their last of the regular season, is Tuesday night at the Bren against UCSB. If the ‘Eaters win, “this would give us third outright in the conference, which is the best this team’s done in awhile,” notes Coach Hain. “It all comes down to this, I think it would be a great finish if we could beat Santa Barbara.”