Exciting Win: Women’s Volleyball Secures First-Ever Big West Tournament Title

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LONG BEACH, Calif. – The University of Hawai’i women’s volleyball team achieved victory over the host Long Beach State, 26-24, 25-15, 25-10 in the championship match of the inaugural OUTRIGGER Resorts Big West Championship tournament on Saturday at the Walter Pyramid. It marks Hawai’i’s fourth-consecutive Big West title under head coach Robyn Ah Mow.

The second-seeded Rainbow Wahine (23-8) had an impressive winning streak in the tournament, securing the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. UH will make its 30th consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance and 41st all-time (excluding the 2021 season where UH and the Big West did not compete due to the pandemic). This win stands as Hawai’i’s 12th Big West title and the program’s 27th overall conference title.

Middle blocker Amber Igiede was awarded the tournament’s Most Valuable Player after leading the Rainbow Wahine with 16 kills, hitting .522 with two aces and five blocks. The Baton Rouge, La., native exhibited an unstoppable performance, averaging 4.67 kills and 1.17 blocks per set, hitting at a .490 clip with four service aces in the tournament.

Riley Wagoner delivered eight kills, four digs, and two blocks while Kennedi Evans finished with seven kills. Meanwhile, Kendra Ham added seven kills, hitting .500 with two aces and four blocks. Setter Kate Lang directed a UH offense that hit .330. Lang’s 36 assists pushed her past Norene Iosia for ninth-place in the career assist record book.

The victory over the fourth-seeded Beach (21-10) was UH’s second this past week, following the Rainbow Wahine’s win in four sets on UH’s Senior Night to close out the regular season in Honolulu. After the hard-fought 26-24 win in Set 1, UH secured Sets 2 and 3, hitting a combined .404 while limiting the Beach to .059. Hawai’i recorded five of its six aces in the final two sets and eight of its 11 team blocks.

UH claimed a 16-11 lead in Set 1 after a 6-1 run. The Beach closed to within two at 22-20 but a kill by Igiede and a LBSU net violation gave the ‘Bows set point. LBSU erased three set points to tie it at 24. After a Beach service error, Wagoner’s fifth kill gave the Rainbow Wahine the set.

An early three-point scoring run by UH resulted in a 7-4 lead. Hawai’i continued to hold the lead, but were unable to shake the Beach off as they closed to within one at 14-13. But the ‘Bows turned on the afterburners scoring 13 of the final 15 points to pull away to take Set 2, 25-15.

Hawai’i started Set 3 on fire, sprinting out to a 7-0 lead and forcing the Beach to call both of its timeouts before scoring their point. Hawai’i hit .667 in the decisive third set. UH was effective from the service line throughout the match with six aces while committing zero serve receive errors. While UH’s offense was humming, the ‘Bows’ defense would not let a ball fall.

In the 97-minute sweep, the Rainbow Wahine were dominant in almost every statistical category. UH had the advantage in kills (44-29), assists (39-28), service aces (6-0), digs (29-22), and blocks (11.0-3.0).

Long Beach State was held to just a .123 hitting percentage for the match. The Beach was led by Elise Agi, who had eight kills. Zayna Meyer had 23 assists, and Jenna Giambi had a team-high six digs.

Hawai’i will now await the NCAA Tournament Selection Show, scheduled for Sunday at 1:00 p.m. HT on ESPN. The tournament commences with the first and second rounds on Nov. 30-Dec. 3.




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