The University of Hawai’i women’s volleyball team (9-0) rose five spots to No. 13 in the most recent AVCA Top 25 Coaches Poll. Hawai’i is one of just 10 undefeated programs left in the NCAA D1-which also including both of their opponents this week, No. 17 Missouri (8-0) and No. 5 Baylor (7-0). This is the first time UH will be traveling during the non-conference schedule since 2013 when UH played in the Shocker Volleyball Classic hosted by Wichita State. Hawai’i is 9-0 for the first time since 2004, when the Rainbow Wahine started the year at 30-0 before falling in the NCAA tournament’s third round against Wisconsin. The Rainbow Wahine won their three non-conference tournaments for fourth time in history, and the first time since 2013.
Baylor Classic Information
Teams: No. 5 Baylor, No. 13 Hawai’i, and No. 17 Missouri
Site: Ferrell Center (Waco, Texas)
Saturday, Sept. 21 – 8:00 am HT No. 13 Hawai’i vs. No. 17 Missouri
Sunday, Sept. 22 – 9:00 am HT No. 13 Hawai’i vs. No. 5 Baylor
Streaming video: Only UH’s match vs. Baylor will be streamed online on Big 12 Now on ESPN+ and can be linked through the schedule page at HawaiiAthletics.com
Radio: Both of UH’s matches in Waco will be aired on ESPN Honolulu with Tiff Wells calling the action (1420 AM/92.7 FM)
Audio Webcast: Listing live online at ESPNHonolulu.com -or- on the Sideline Hawaii app
Livestats: Livestats for both UH matches can be linked to through the HawaiiAthletics.com women’s volleyball schedule page.
Series history: UH is 0-1 against Mizzou, with its sole lost to the Tigers coming in the NCAA Tournament third round on Dec. 9, 2005 in State College, Pa. Missouri’s head coach is local boy Josh Taylor, older brother of former UH standout, Nikki Taylor who played for UH from 2013-16. Hawai’i is 6-1 against Baylor. Last year, the Bears knocked out the ‘Bows in the first round of the NCAA tournament in Eugene, Ore. in five sets. Baylor’s head coach Ryan McGuyre is married to former Rainbow Wahine standout Jennifer (Roberts) McGyre, who played for UH from 1996-99.
- GAME NOTES:
- Freshman outside hitter Hanna Hellvig led Hawai’i this past week, recording 37 kills, 38 digs and 13 blocks in UH’s three wins over West Virginia, Utah Valley and UCLA. She earned the Outrigger Hotels & Resorts Volleyball Challenge’s Most Valuable Player award and was voted Big West Freshman of the Week after averaging 3.36 kills, 3.45 digs and 1.18 blocks per set while hitting at a .289 (37-11-90) clip. Overall, Hellvig now leads the team with 103 kills. She also second on the team with 33 blocks and she has 77 digs and six service aces to fill out her stat line.
- In the 14 years that Hawai’i has hosted three non-conference tournaments, the Rainbow Wahine have won all three tourneys in one season a total of four times-including this season. But this year is the first time that UH has had three different players earn MVP honors. Junior outside hitter Jolie Rasmussen earned the Rainbow Wahine Classic MVP award the first week. Junior middle blocker Skyler Williams was named MVP of the Invitational and Hellvig earned MVP honors this past week. All three players also hit the trifecta earning the Big West’s three different Player of the Week awards over the first three weeks of the season. Rasmussen garnered BWC Player of the Week and Sports Imports/AVCA National Player of the Week honors after her UH debut weekend when UH defeated No. 21 San Diego, St. John’s and No. 13 Washington to start the season. Williams then earned BWC Defensive Player of the Week the second week after leading UH to wins over Army, Sacramento State and Denver with 32 kills while hitting .481 over three matches with 12 total blocks. This past Monday, Hellvig was named the league’s Freshman of the week.
- Hawai’i has been solid at the net, out-blocking their opponents in every match thus far. Currently, UH is ranked ninth in the NCAA with 104.0 total blocks and 10th in the nation in blocks per set (2.89). The ‘Bows have posted double-digit blocks in six out of nine matches this year. Leading UH is freshman middle blocker Amber Igiede who is ranked No. 51 in the NCAA DI with a team-high 42 total blocks (five solo). Fellow freshman Hellvig is second on the team with 33 total blocks (four solo). Coming into this week with 31 total blocks in Williams.
- Redshirt junior transfer Jolie Rasmussen got off to a red-hot start this season. She was leading the team with 96 kills when she tangled with a West Virginia player under the net and went out of the game with an ankle injury. In her first weekend as a Rainbow Wahine, the Oregon transfer led UH in the Rainbow Wahine Classic with 56 kills and added 17 digs and 13 total blocks as UH upset both No. 21 San Diego and No.13 Washington and defeated St. John’s during the opening week. She was named MVP of the tournament and AVCA National Player of the Week for her efforts. In Week 2, she earned all-tourney honors with 34 kills, 21 digs and six blocks against Army, Sac. State, and Denver. Rasmussen did not play in the UH’s last two matches vs. Utah Valley and UCLA.
- Coming into the season, the ‘Bows biggest question was how their nine newcomers (including five freshmen) would gel with the seven returnees and how the team would perform at game time. But the new Wahine have answered all doubters and have proven that they can play at this level and together as a team. The nine newcomers account for 420 of UH’s 500 kills; 319 of UH’s 540 digs; and 87 of the team’s 104.0 total blocks. The five freshmen alone have combined for 244 kills, 168 digs and 61.5 totl blocks.
- Senior setters Norene Iosia and Bailey Choy have split setting duties thus far in UH’s tweaked 6-2 offense. Iosia, who also played as a pin hitter last season in a different 6-2 last season, has dished out a team-high 197 assists while racking up a team-high 12 service aces. She is second on the team behind Choy with 82 digs. Choy is close behind with 187 assists, eight service aces and has a team-high 92 digs. The two also have combined for eight double-doubles. Choy has notched five double-doubles against Washington, Army, Denver West Virginia and Utah Valley, while Iosia has recorded three against San Diego, St. John’s and WVU.
- Hawai’i entered the AVCA Top 25 Coaches Poll for the first time under head coach Robyn Ah Mow in Week 1 after upsetting both No. 21 San Diego and No. 13 Washiington. Hawai’i rose two spots to No. 18 after Week 2 and wins over Army, Sacramento State and Denver. This week UH rose to No. 13 after a topsy-turvy week in the Top 25. The thirteenth ranking is UH’s highest ranking since Week 14 of 2016 with Dave Shoji as the head coach. The Bows were ranked at No. 12 then. Hawai’i has a long history with the AVCA poll. They are ranked No. 5 in AVCA history for being ranked 502 total times. UH is also ranked at No. 5 as the ‘Bows were ranked at No. 1 48 times. Hawai’i has been in the Top 10 366 times, tied for No. 4 with Penn State.
- Against UCLA this past weekend, UH had its biggest crown since 2013. The match had 8,657 tickets issued-that was the most for a Rainbow Wahine volleyball game since Senior Night against CSUN on Nov. 23, 2013. Through the first three weeks of the season, UH has generated 55,277 tickets issued for volleyball.