Hawaii’s extended serving runs propelled the Rainbow Wahine volleyball team to a four-set win over Cal Poly tonight at the SimpliFi Arena at the Stan Sheriff Center.
UH middle blocker Amber Igiede was match-high with 17 kills and outside hitter Caylen Alexander finished the game with 16 on .444 and Rainbow Wahine shook off a slow start in a 16-25, 25-12, 25-16, 25-. 23 defeats the Mustangs in front of a crowd of 6,036 on White Out night.
After Cal Poly ran away with the opening set, Kendra Ham triggered the Wahine with a 10-point service turn in the second set. Setter Kate Lang put on a 13-point run in the third set and also had a seven-point turn late in the fourth set as UH recovered from a 16-8 deficit to end the match.
UH versus Braelyn Akana got their 10th kill at match point and Hawaii earned a season series split with Cal Poly.
The Wahine (19-6, 16-1 Big West) have picked up nine straight wins since a four-set loss at Cal Poly on Oct. 15 and built a two-game lead over second-placed UC Santa Barbara in the conference race by three more games.
>> PHOTOS: Hawaii vs. Cal Poly
Big West kills leader Tommi Stockham led Cal Poly (16-12, 13-5) with 11 kills. Maia Dvoracek, who had 21 kills when she first met UH, finished the tournament with nine kills in .034 hits.
Stockham broke a 7-7 tie with their first kill and the Mustangs went on a 5-1 run and led 12-8 after a London Haberfield ace and Cal Poly coach Caroline Walter’s second successful challenge of the set.
The Mustangs continued to retreat, ending UH’s streak of consecutive sets won with 13.
After meeting in the tunnel between sets, the Rainbow Wahine reversed the tone of the game with a second set triggered by Ham’s 10-point turn on the service line.
The run included an ace by Ham against their former team. Igiede contributed three kills and a block, and UH led 11-2 when Lang’s tip fell in the middle of Cal Poly’s defense.
Lang put on an even longer run in the third set, serving 13 straight points, and UH turned a 5-4 deficit into an 18-5 lead. Alexander had four kills on the run and teamed with Tiffany Westerberg on two blocks. Akana had three kills on the run, including a free ball that landed in the back corner of the court.
The Mustangs looked poised to send the match into a fifth set as they extended a 16-8 lead after Stockham fired back-to-back aces. UH took the lead but were still down 20-15 when an Alexander kill sent Lang back to serve. Akana and Westerberg teamed on a block and Akana had two kills and laid down a flyover to tie the set. Alexander then put away consecutive kills to give UH a 22-20 lead. The teams traded sideouts from there before Akana’s match-ender.
The Rainbow Wahine wrap up Sunday’s home game schedule against Cal State Bakersfield. UH setter Mylana Byrd is honored in the Senior Day ceremony after the game.