Win and move on! The (24-8) staged a classic comeback to down the seventh-seeded Iowa State Cyclones (20-10) in four sets and advanced to the second round of the . The Rainbow Wahine dropped the first set and trailed by as much as seven points in the second set before bouncing back and taking the second, third and fourth sets, winning the match 16-25, 26-24, 25-18 and 25-23.
UH will now play on Friday, December 1, 5 p.m. HST in the second round against the winner of host and second-seeded Oregon and Southeastern Louisiana.
Sophomore outside hitter Caylen Alexander led the Rainbow Wahine with 18 kills and one service ace. Senior middle blocker and Big West First Team selection Amber Igiede contributed 14 kills and four blocks. Senior outside hitter Riley Wagoner added nine kills. Junior setter Kate Lang directed the offense with 45 assists. As a team, the Rainbow Wahine hit .276 and out-blocked the Cyclones, 13 to five. UH‘s defense held Iowa State to a .186 clip.
In the first set, UH jumped ahead on a 5-0 scoring run to take a 7-2 lead. Alexander had the hot hand with three kills early. The Cyclones went on a 9-0 run of their own to take the 11-7 lead. An Iowa State service error gave UH a sideout point, then the Cyclones went on a 6-0 scoring run fueled by a trio of service aces, forcing the Rainbow Wahine to call a timeout down 17-8. Despite four service errors in the first set, the Cyclones cruised to a 25-16 victory.
The Cyclones picked up where they left off taking a quick 5-1 lead on a pair of kills by Maya Duckworth. The Rainbow Wahine then closed the gap to one on two kills by freshman outside hitter Tali Hakas and one by Alexander. Iowa State surged ahead 10-5 on four straight points forcing UH to call a timeout. A kill by Alexander and a block by Hakas and senior middle blocker Kennedi Evans closed the Cyclone lead to 13-8. UH then continued winning points at the net with four blocks in the middle of the set to trail by just one point at 21-20, forcing Iowa State to call its first timeout. A kill by Wagoner tied the set up at 21, and a net violation by the Cyclones gave the Rainbow Wahine their first lead of the set at 22-21. Iowa State used its second and final timeout of the set after UH regained the lead on another kill by Wagoner at 23-22. The Cyclones forced extras tying the set up at 24, but a kill by Alexander and a service ace by Talia Edmonds gave UH the dramatic comeback 26-24 victory.
Momentum remained on UH¡¯s side early in set three as Igiede put down four early kills to give the Rainbow Wahine a 7-2 lead. UH was the first to double digits in the set on a kill by Wagoner at 10-6. Kills by Alexander and Igiede gave the ¡®Bows a five-point advantage at 13-8. UH extended its lead to six at 20-14 on a block by Evans and Hakas. Iowa State closed the deficit to four at 20-16, but Hakas responded with a kill and a UH ace extended the Rainbow Wahine lead to 22-16. UH surged to the end of the set, winning 25-18 on a kill by Igiede.
The fourth set was extremely close throughout. Teams traded points early before UH took an 11-8 lead on kills by Hakas and Igiede. A pair of Iowa State kills and a service ace tied it up at 11. The Cyclones were the first to 15 after a UH attack error and three straight Iowa State kills. An Iowa State service error and a Lang service ace cut the Iowa State lead to just one at 17-16. UH then tied it back up at 18 after a kill by Evans and a block by Alexander and Evans. The teams traded points and the Rainbow Wahine still trailed 20-19, before a pair of Cyclone attack errors gave UH the slimmest of leads at 21-20, which forced Iowa State to call a timeout. The teams continued to sideout before a massive kill by Igiede gave the Rainbow Wahine a crucial 23-22 edge. A massive solo block by Wagoner gave UH a 24-22 lead and a critical service error by the Cyclones gave the Rainbow Wahine the narrow 25-23 victory.
The Rainbow Wahine was The Big West¡¯s automatic representative into the national tournament after winning the conference championship with sweeps over Cal Poly and Long Beach State. This is UH¡¯s 30th straight appearance and 41st overall in the Division I Women¡¯s Volleyball Championship Tournament.
—By Marc Arakaki
— Hawaii W. Volleyball (@HawaiiWVB)