Rainbow Wahine play ‘lights out’ in four set win over Denver moving to 6-0 for the first time in 15 years


The No. 20 University of Hawai’i women’s volleyball team (6-0) pulled away from Denver in four sets to capture the 2019 the Heineken Rainbow Wahine Invitational. Hawai’i defeated the Pioneers, 25-16, 21-25, 25-15, 25-18 on Sunday night at the Stan Sheriff Center to remain unbeaten. Junior outside hitter Jolie Rasmussen recorded her fifth double-digit kill match of the season putting down a match-high 16 kills.

With UH just six points away from winning the match, the Sheriff overhead lights went out, creating a delay of 20 minutes before the Lady ‘Bows would return to the court to seal the deal.

In the win, Rasmussen posted her third double-double of the season, with 12 digs to go with her 16 kills. She hit .306 for the match (16-5-36) with two blocks en route to earning all-tournament honors.

The tournament’s Most Valuable Player award went to junior middle Skyler Williams had 10 kills and hit .316 for the night (10-4-19). Williams also added five blocks (one solo). For the tourney, she racked up 32 kills, hit .481 and was in on 12 blocks.

Also recording 10 kills was Brooke Van Sickle who hit .389 in the match. She also added three digs, two assists and a block.

Setters Bailey Choy and Norene Iosia combined for 44 assists. Choy had 25 assists with a kill

Hawai’i went on a 7-to-2 run early in Set 1 to take a 9-6 lead. Later, UH went on a 4-to-0 run with three points coming off Norene Iosia’s serve-including a service ace to extend UH’s lead to 16-10. The Rainbow Wahine finished the set strong, scoring the last five straight points to take Set 1, 25-16.

The second set was much closer with the two team’s tying at every point until 12-12 when Denver went on a 3-0 run to leads 15-12 at the media timeout. Hawai’i came out of the timeout and got a sideout on a DU hitting error, then scored a pair of points on two Rasmussen kills to tie things at 15-15. But after a DU timeout, the Pioneers finished the set on a roll, going on a 7-to-2 run to lead 23-19 and eventually closed out the set, 25-21.

Hawai’i rolled to take the third set, 25-15. The frame was close early on until UH went on a four-point run-three points coming off Choy’s serve-which gave the ‘Bows a 14-8 lead. UH slowly pulled away to take a 2-1 lead in the match.

In the fourth set UH kept the momentum and used an 8-to-0 run to take a 10-5 lead with Iosia behind the service line. The run was highlighted by three-straight kills by Tiffany Westerberg plus one by Van Sickle. Later, Denver rallied to close to within four points at 19-15. Hawaii then got a Hanna Hellvig kill and she combined with Westerberg for a block to go up 21-15 and UH coasted to a 25-18 win in Set 4 to clinch the match and the tourney championship.

Denver was led by Lydia Bartalo who had 1 kills and Amanda Green who had six blocks.

For the match, UH out hit the Pioneers .290-to-.085 and out-dug DU, 48-to-38. Hawai’i also out-blocked Denver, 11.0-to-9.0. It was the fourth time this season that UH has recorded double-digits in blocks.

It is the first time UH has started the season at 6-0 since the 2004 team won their first 30 matches of the year, finishing at 30-1. It is the first time Hawai’i won the Rainbow Wahine Invitational since 2015 (last year the ‘Bows did not host the Invitational). It marked the ninth time that the ‘Bows won the Invitational tourney title.

Hawai’i is back in action on Thursday with the start of the Outrigger Resorts Rainbow Wahine Volleyball Challenge. West Virginia, Utah Valley and UCLA will all be coming to Honolulu for the three-day tournament.

2019 Heineken Rainbow Wahine Invitational All-Tournament Team
Ana Oglivie (Army)
Macey Hayden (Sacramento St)
Lydia Bartalo (Denver)
Tina Boe (Denver)
Jolie Rasmussen (Hawai’i)
Bailey Choy (Hawai’i)

Most Valuable Player
Skyler Williams (Hawai’i)

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