By: Amanda Zarasua
Photography by: Ariel Chen
The UCI women’s volleyball team faced off against the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa last Saturday, Oct. 26 at the Bren Events Center where Irvine was swept in three straight sets (25-27, 17-25, 21-25). Their first match-up of the season took place on Oct. 4 in Honolulu, Hawai’i and the Anteaters returned home victorious with a 3-2 win over the Rainbow Wahine, their first in franchise history. UCI were unable to repeat this success this last Saturday and the Anteaters are now 4-16 overall and 1-7 in conference play.
Irvine immediately jumped to an early lead as a kill by junior Cassie Stewart quickly pulled the Anteaters ahead 6-2. The next point was called against Hawai’i, but the Rainbow Wahine quickly requested a video challenge on the play. After some referee deliberation, the call was reversed in Hawaii’s favor, and the score was now 6-3. Hawai’i would go on to score the next two points, and a double block by the Rainbow Wahine would tie it up at 7-7. Irvine and Hawai’i would continue to trade off points, and a multitude of kills by sophomore Abby Marjama helped the Anteaters hang on to a narrow 20-18 lead. Two subsequent errors by Irvine and another double block by Hawai’i helped the Rainbow Wahine overtake the Anteaters 21-20. Immediately after, Irvine met for their second timeout of the set, but despite this meeting and three total set points, the Anteaters dropped the first set 25-27.
Marjama said that the first set, “came down to a few unforced errors that let Hawaii get the lead,” but the team was still “optimistic and encouraged.”
However, Hawai’i immediately scored six unanswered points to start off the second set, and two back to back kills by freshman Onye Ofoegbue, the Anteaters were unable to gain the lead at all, eventually falling 25-17.
Irvine held Hawai’i to a one-point lead at the start of the set, and the Anteaters were only down 3-2. The next point was called against Hawai’i, but another video challenge was requested, and again the call was reversed in favor of the Rainbow Wahine. The Anteaters responded with a kill by freshman Carissa Macdonald and two back to back Hawai’i balls sailed out of bounds, which put Irvine at a 6-5 lead. Hawai’i responded with two consecutive kills, a double block and two back-to-back service aces to gain control and take the lead back in the third set (6-10). With the Anteaters unable to counter consistent momentum from the Rainbow Wahine, they ended the third set down, 21-25.
UCI will face Cal State Fullerton in Fullerton this upcoming Saturday, Nov.2. Marjama said the Anteaters will be looking to “make less unforced errors and be more of a threat offensively” in their conference rematch against the Titans and will also be looking to break a four-match losing streak.