Rainbow Wahine rally past Gauchos in five sets

The Maui News

Norene Iosia had 33 assists, 16 digs, nine kills and four aces, the last providing the winning point as the 21st-ranked University of Hawaii women’s volleyball team rallied for a 25-19, 22-25, 21-25, 25-18, 17-15 victory over UC Santa Barbara in a pivotal Big West Conference match Friday night at the Stan Sheriff Center in Honolulu.

Hanna Hellvig had a team-high 19 kills, and Amber Igiede and McKenna Ross each added 10 to help the Rainbow Wahine improve to 19-3, 9-2 in the Big West.

UH came back from a 15-12 deficit in the fourth set to extend the match to the fifth.

From there, the teams kept it tight, with neither leading by more than one after the early points. A kill by Ross gave the ‘Bows match point at 14-13, but the teams continued to trade points until a kill by Igiede and Iosia’s ace brought an end to the nearly 3-hour thriller.

Lindsey Ruddins had 27 kills to lead the Gauchos (18-3, 8-2 Big West), who came into the showdown tied atop the Big West standings with Cal Poly. Tallulah Froley added 16 kills.

Friday’s win gave UH an all-important season sweep of UCSB.

Next up is another huge conference match for the Rainbow Wahine as they host Cal Poly on Sunday. The Mustangs (15-6, 8-1) swept UH last month in San Luis Obispo.