HONOLULU—The University of Hawai’i women’s volleyball team (15-6, 12-1 Big West) swept Long Beach State (15-7, 10-4 BW) with a balanced offensive attack and solid defense on Friday night at the SimpliFi Arena at Stan Sheriff Center, 26-24, 25-18, 25-18.The Hawai’i win snapped The Beach’s nine-match win streak as UH remains alone atop the conference standings .
Rookie Caylen Alexander led Hawai’i with 11 kills while adding four digs, a pair of service aces, and a block. It marked Alexander’s 12th double-digit kill match of her young career. She continues to lead UH overall with 25 service aces.
Junior outside hitter Riley Wagoner finished one kill shy of notching a double-double, putting down nine kills with 10 digs and a couple of assists. Wagoner’s second block of the match was her 100th career rejection. She finished with three total blocks for the match and 101 career blocks.
Junior opposite Braelyn Akana helped Hawai’i stay afloat in the closely contested first set with The Beach. She put down four kills on four attacks and ended the match with eight kills and a .385 hitting percentage. Akana has come on strong since returning to the lineup, hitting over .300 in five of the last six matches.
Sophomore setter Kate Lang recorded her seventh double-double of the year with 29 assists and 11 digs. She also dealt a pair of aces and put down four kills with a block.
Junior middle Amber Igiede added seven kills which snapped her streak of 18-straight double-digit kill matches. But her streak of consecutive games with at least two blocks remains intact at 20.
Junior defensive/serving specialist Kendra Ham continued her stellar back-row play, posting a team-high 12 digs in just three rotations. It is the fifth time in the last seven matches that she has recorded 10+ digs. Overall, it was her eighth double-digit dig match of the season.
The first set was tightly contest with 18 ties and eight lead changes. Long Beach State retook the lead at 11-10 and led by as many as three at 16-13. But a 6-to-2 UH scoring run allowed Hawai’I to leapfrog into the lead at 19-18. Both teams traded several sideouts before The Beach see-sawed back into the lead at 23-22. LBSU served set point at 24-23, but a Tiffany Westerberg kill knotted the score at 24-24. Alexander then dealt a service ace for a UH set point opportunity which Wagoner converted on, putting down a cross-court kill to win Set 1, 26-24.
In Set 2, with the score tied at 3-3, Hawai’i went on a 5-to-0 run behind the serving of Wagoner and the front row play of Igiede. UH raced out to a quick 10-4 lead from which The Beach would be able to recover from as they were unable to catch Hawai’i. The Rainbow Wahine would lead by as many as eight points at 21-13. But The Beach would rally, going on a 5-to-1 run to cut their deficit in half to trail by four at 22-18. UH then hit the after-burners and closed out the set winning the final three-straight points with Akana’s tip shot falling in for the kill to end Set 2, 25-18.
A five point scoring run with Ikenaga behind the service line gave UH an early 14-8 lead. The ‘Bows would not trail the rest of the way as UH coasted to a 25-18 Set 3 win to seal the sweep.
The win marked UH’s ninth sweep of the season—seventh in conference. Although Hawai’i was out-blocked, 12.0-to-6.0, UH won the other statistical categories, edging The Beach 40-39 in kills and .258-.202 in hitting percentage. UH had a 38-36 advantage in assists, a 7-4 advantage in service aces and just had two service errors to LBSU’s 11. Hawai’i out-dug The Beach, 51-to-37.
Long Beach State’s Morgan Chacon had a match-high 13 kills while Callie Schwarzenbach had a match-high eight blocks. Dylan Dela Cruz had a match-high 13 digs.
Next up, the Rainbow Wahine return to take on Cal State Fullerton on Saturday, Nov. 5, 2022 at the SimpliFi Arena at Stan Sheriff Center. First serve is slated for 7:00 p.m. HT.