The University of Hawai'i women's volleyball team fell in a five-set heartbreaker at Pepperdine, 19-25, 25-20, 22-25, 25-18, 15-6. The Rainbow Wahine fall to 16-8 overall while Pepperdine improved to 17-8 overall on Tuesday night at the Firestone Fieldhouse in Malibu, Calif.
Outside hitter McKenna Granato led UH, recording her 11th double-double of the year with 12 kills and 11 digs. She also added a pair of blocks and a service ace.
UH's young middles-Skyler Williams and Kamalei Krug came in off the bench to spark the 'Bows both on offense and defense. Williams finished the match with four kills and three blocks, while Krug was key in UH's third set run. She finished the match tying her career-high with seven kills while recording a new career-high with a team-high five blocks. McKenna Ross also came in off the bench to tally eight kills and 11 digs.
Setter Faith Ma'afala also notched a double-double-her eighth of the season-recording a team-high 25 assists to go with 11 digs. She also added two service aces in the loss.
Setter/outside hitter Norene Iosia entered the game needing just two digs to tally her 800th career dig, which she did in the middle of the first set. She finished the match with 20 assists, eight digs, seven kills and three blocks.
Libero Tita Akiu led the Rainbow Wahine with 15 digs. She now has recorded 23 double-digit dig matches out of 24 matches played.
In Set 1, UH fell behind early and could not recover from the Waves early lead. Pepperdine pulled away to cruise to a 25-19 first set win.
The second set saw the Waves ride their momentum to take as big as a four point lead at 12-8. After trading a few sideouts, UH was trailing 14-16. Granato then put down one of her kills and Janelle Gong started a five-point service run that gave UH a 20-17 lead. From there, UH slowly pulled away to even the match at 1-1 with a 25-20 win in Set 2.
Pepperdine started the third set strong, leading by as many as eight points at 13-5. But Hawai'i came roaring back, as they went on a 15-to-2 run with four points coming off Gong's serve; six points coming on Ma'afala's serve which included two aces; and two more points coming with Granato behind the service line. Hawai'i built as big as a five point lead at 21-16. But Pepp finished strong down the stretch as they caught up to tie, then take the lead as they finished the set scoring the final eight-straight points with Heidi Dyer serving.
After letting the third set slip through their fingers, Hawai'i fought back to even the match at 2-2. The 'Bows pulled away, scoring eight of the last 11 points to take Set 4, 25-18.
But the Waves rolled to win Set 5. After UH score the first point on a Pepp hitting error, the waves went on a 7-to-0 run with Blossom Sato serving. Hawai'i would not be able to make a comeback as Pepperdine kept things going to win the final set, 15-6.
Statistically, Pepperdine had the advantage in nearly every category except for being tied with UH with 9.0 blocks. The Waves out hit UH, .228-to-.197 while posting 62 kills to UH's 53. Pepp had the advantage in assists (57-to-52) and in digs (66-to-64) and in service aces (9-to-4).
Pepperdine's Hannah Frohling tallied a match-high 18 kills while Sato dished out 48 assists. Heidi Dyer fired five service aces and Tarah Wylie had a match-high six blocks.
Tuesday's match was the first time Dave Shoji's former UH assistants Robyn Ah Mow-Santos taking on Pepperdine's Scott Wong played each other. Also serving as a volunteer assistant on the Waves' staff is former Rainbow Wahine libero, Ali Longo who played for UH from 2012-13.
The Rainbow Wahine return home and will have a bye this weekend. The Rainbow Wahine will then host their final homestand of the season. On Thursday, Nov. 15 UH takes on UC Irvine followed by their Senior Night on Friday, Nov. 16 against UC Davis. Hawai'i will be honoring seven Rainbow Wahine.
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