Rainbow Wahine work it out in win over Northwestern

Aug. 26—Related Photo Gallery: Hawaii women's volleyball wins season opener

With four consecutive matches against ranked opponents ahead, the University of Hawaii women's volleyball team pulled out a needed win on opening night.

Senior Amber Igiede led four players in double figures with 14 kills and the Rainbow Wahine overcame a slow start to beat Northwestern 18-25, 25-18, 22-25, 25-21, 15-7 on Friday night to cap the first day of the Hawaiian Airlines Rainbow Wahine Classic.

A SimpliFi Arena at Stan Sheriff Center crowd of 4,266 watched UH rally to win the final two sets and take its fourth consecutive home opener.

Riley Wagoner's 13th kill off the head of a Northwestern blocker landed in the crowd to complete a six-point run to end an up-and-down affair.

"I'm just happy with the win ... for right now," Hawaii coach Robyn Ah Mow said. "We needed this win. I'm happy for like six hours and then we'll come back and show them the video and then we'll not be so happy."

Sophomore Caylen Alexander tallied a double-double with 12 kills and 12 digs, and freshman Tali Hakas, inserted in the starting lineup for her UH debut, added 10 kills and nine digs.

"It was an amazing experience," a hoarse Hakas said after a match that lasted 2 hours, 38 minutes. "One of the things I'm trying to bring to the group is my energy."

Hakas got the Rainbow Wahine going in the fifth set with an ace as part of an early 4-1 run.

Three straight Hawaii hitting errors helped Northwestern get within a point and force Ah Mow to use a timeout at 6-5.

Senior middle Kennedi Evans, who along with Igiede were the only two Rainbow Wahine to hit better than .179 in the match, put down a kill on a step-out attack and Hakas put down an overpass to make it 9-6.

A net violation on Hawaii was the final point for Northwestern as Alexander put down back-to-back kills as part of the closing 6-0 run.

"I think when you find yourself in that (fifth) set, I was really happy with how we rallied and continued just point-for-point, one point is one point," senior libero Talia Edmonds said. "That's one thing we're trying to improve on from last season."

Edmonds earned the start at libero and finished with a team-high 18 digs. Junior Tayli Ikenaga, last year's starter at libero, entered the match for the first time in the fourth set when Ah Mow went with two specialists on the court for the first time.

"She earned it. All three coaches hands down (agreed)," Ah Mow said of Edmonds. "Not saying the other ones weren't there at practice, but we just thought she, technical-wise, team-wise, the cohesiveness with her passing and the defense, just being steady, that's why she's wearing this jersey."

It was tough going early on as Hawaii unraveled in the opening set after Alexander was whistled for an eight-second service violation with Hawaii trailing 16-15.

Northwestern closed it out on a 9-3 run helped out by two Hawaii hitting errors, a service error and a net violation on set point.

The Rainbow Wahine got off to a much better start in Set 2, with Evans in on back-to-back blocks to face a Northwestern timeout with UH ahead 8-4.

That didn't stop the momentum, as two Wildcats hitting errors with an Alexander kill sandwiched between them prompted Wildcats coach Shane Davis to use his second timeout at 11-4.

Senior setter Alexa Rousseau served the last four of a five-point run for Northwestern to close to 21-18 before back-to-back kills by Hakas started a 4-0 UH run to tie the match at one set apiece.

Wagoner, who hit .048 in the first two sets, gave UH its first lead in the third set with three kills and a block during a five-point run after Northwestern jumped out to an 8-5 lead.

Hawaii led 19-18 before the Wildcats rallied. Leilani Dodson was in on back-to-back blocks to put the Wildcats ahead 22-19 and then closed it out with her ninth kill of the match to put Northwestern ahead 2-1.

Hawaii will return to the court tonight to play No. 13 San Diego, which was swept by No. 9 Oregon in Friday's first match.

Oregon 3, San Diego 0

Reigning AVCA Freshman of the Year Mimi Colyer put down a match-high 15 kills and the 13th-ranked Ducks made quick work of the ninth-ranked Toreros, 25-21, 25-22, 25-13, in Friday's first match.

Morgan Lewis added nine kills and Gabby Gonzales chipped in seven for Oregon, which hit .341 as a team.

Nemo Beach had 10 kills to lead USD, a national semifinalist a year ago. The Toreros hit .062.