HONOLULU—The No. 14 University of Hawai’i women’s volleyball team (5-3, 0-0 Big West) battled in the first set then pulled away in the second and third to sweep Northern Illinois, 26-24, 25-15, 25-15 on the second night of the Outrigger Resorts Volleyball Challenge. Nikki Taylor led UH with a match-high 18 kills while Savanah Kahakai recorded 14 digs. Hawai’i’s two middles—Casey Castillo andEmily Maglio led the “UH Roofing Company” with five blocks apiece on Friday night at the Stan Sheriff Center.
Taylor hit .351 with just five errors in 37 attacks. She also dealt three aces and had three digs with a block. Taylor has notched double-digits in kills in every match she’s played thus far and extends her streak to 13 dating back to last season.
Kahakai notched her seventh double-digit dig match of the season, with her 14. She also dished out four assists.
Castillo tied her career-high with six kills—five of which she put down in the first set alone. She hit .400 on the night with two errors on 10 swings. Castillo also set a new career-high with five blocks (two solo and three block assists).
Maglio also recorded a career-high with three solo blocks against the Huskies. She ended with seven kills hitting .357 for the match.
Setter Norene Iosia tallied 31 assists and had four digs, three blocks and one kill.
The first set went into extra time as NIU (5-2, 0-0 Mid-American) kept fighting until the end. Early on, the ‘Bows looked to have things rolling and had as big as a six point lead at 14-8. But the Huskies would start chipping away. Down, 20-15 NIU rallied for a 4-0 run on the serving of Malia Gabel. Eventually the Huskies would tie the score at 21-21 and then three more times after that before Nikki Taylor ended the set with back-to-back kills at 26-24.
In the second set, NIU led early on by as much as four points at 9-5 before UH was finally able to catch and then overtake them at 10-9 during a Gianna Guinasso serving run in which she served five times. From that point, Hawai’i would pull away, outscoring NIU, 14-5 the rest of the way—including the final five points of the set on the serving of Taylor who began her run with two straight aces. Hawai’i finished the set with kills from Kalei Greeley and Iosia to win 25-15 and take a 2-0 lead into intermission.
Hawai’i led from the get-go of the third set and never looked back. Behind the serving of Kahakai, the ‘Bows went on a 7-0 run to lead 11-4. Northern Illinois would not be able to recover from it. UH led by as many as eight points and finished the set with back-to-back aces by Kendra Koelsch that gave the Rainbow Wahine a 25-15 win in the third.
The Rainbow Wahine out-hit the Huskies, .308-to-.123 and had 43 kills to NIU’s 26. UH also out-blocked Northern Illinois, 10.0-to-7.0.
Northern Illinois was led by Mary Grace Kelly who had eight kills. Meg Wolowicz tallied four blocks and Anna Brereton had nine digs to pace the Huskies.
On Saturday, there will be a pair of non-UH games. At 12:00 pm, Utah Valley and NIU will face off and after a break, NIU will take on Washington at 5:00 pm. Hawai’i will battle No. 6 Washington on Sunday at 4:00 p.m.