The No. 20 University of Hawai’i women’s volleyball team (4-0) got off to a slow start, but then rolled to a four-set win over Army West Point, 22-25, 25-17, 25-19, 25-19 on the opening night of the Heineken Rainbow Wahine Invitational. Junior middle blocker Skyler Williams led Hawai’i with a career-high 13 kills on Friday night at the Stan Sheriff Center.
Williams hit .417 (13-3-24) and was tied with freshman Hanna Hellvig with four blocks to lead UH’s defense. Williams was one of three Rainbow Wahine to record double-digit kills as Hellvig and reigning AVCA National Player of the Week Jolie Rasmussen both added 10 kills each. Both Hellvig and Rasmussen have recorded double-figure kills in all four matches this season. For Rasmussen it was her second straight double-double as she also came through with 10 digs.
Outside hitter Brooke Van Sickle posted a UH career-high 20 digs to lead the ‘Bows but four total players logged double-digit digs against Army. Both Riley Wagoner and Bailey Choy added 14 digs apiece. Setters Norene Iosia and Choy combined for 47 assists. Iosia led with 26 assists with five digs while Choy tallied a double-double with 21 assists.
Although libero Rika Okino (eight digs) and serving specialist Kyra Hanawahine (1 dig) had limited action, but both came in and steadied the defense. Hanawahine once again came in off the bench and sparked a five-point run that gave UH a 13-11 lead. From that point UH never looked back.
In the first set, Hawai’i got off to a sluggish start as Army raced to a 5-2 lead forcing UH called an early timeout. UH then went on a 5-to-2 run to knot the score at 7-7. But Army would take a 17-12 lead on a pair of runs-a 5-to-1 and later a 4-to-0 run to stun Hawai’i early. Army eventually held off UH to capture Set 1, 25-22.
Early on in the second set, the two teams were tied five times before the ‘Bows went on a 6-to-0 run with Rasmussen serving five of the points to give UH 13-7 lead from which Army could not recover from. The last eight points of the set were sideouts.
In Set 3, things were close early on until Kyra Hanawahine entered the game as a serving specialist and sparked a 4-to-0 run which allowed to overtake Army for a 13-10 lead. UH didn’t look back. Later, UH went on a 5-to-1 run which extended their lead to 20-15. Hawai’i went on to take the set, 25-19 and a 2-1 lead in the match.
Hawai’i slowly pulled away in the fourth set for the win. Hanawahine enter the frame 18-15 and served three points to extend UH’s lead to 21-15. Army tried to mount a rally and scored three-straight points, but a Black Knights service error ended the game with UH winning the fourth, 25-19.
Hawai’i outblocked Army, 9.0-to-7.0. It snapped a streak of five-straight matches with double-digit team blocks dating back to last year. UH also had a 58-to-44 advantage in kills and 84-to-80 edge in digs.
The Black Knights were led by Sidney Morriss’ 13 kills. Monica Eckford had a match-high fie blocks and Ana Oglivie had a match-high 22 digs.
Next up, Hawai’i will take on Sacramento State at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, September 6.