A challenging road trip ends with what figures to be the Rainbow Wahine volleyball team’s toughest test so far.
The Rainbow Wahine (2-3) close their three-match stay in the Beehive State by taking on No. 19 Utah (4-0) at 3 p.m. today in the finale of the Utah Classic at the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City.
UH enters the match looking to avoid the program’s first three-match losing streak since an 0-3 start to the 2017 season, Robyn Ah Mow’s first as head coach. The Wahine opened the trip with a five-set loss at Utah Valley and were swept by San Diego on Friday.
Utah opened the tournament with two wins on Friday, a sweep of Big West member Cal Poly and a four-set victory over San Diego. The Utes were led by two-time AVCA All-American Dani Drews’ 23 kills in the win over the Toreros.
Utah has several Hawaii ties. Kahuku graduate Phoebe Grace returns as a senior middle blocker, associate head coach Malia Shoji is the niece of former UH head coach Dave Shoji — and, of course, cousin to Kawika and Erik — and Punahou alum and former BYU setter Wil Stanley is in his first year as a volunteer assistant coach. Stanley closed his BYU career playing against UH in the national championship match in Columbus. Ohio.
Updates follow below:
>> Both teams far more efficient in trading sideouts. Utah moves out to a 12-8 lead but UH sticking close.
>> UH closes to 19-20 and a rally is cut short when Byrd is called for stepping over the center line. UH and Utah side out and Utah takes a 23-21 lead on a Jankiewicz tip shot. Igiede hits out to give Utah match point.
>> Martyna Leoniak staves off the first match point with a kill out of the back row. But Madelyn Robinson ends it. Utah wins 25-12, 23-25, 25-18, 25-22.
>> Drews leads the Utes with a match-high 19 kills (.341). Utes end with 14 blocks and 10 aces. Van Sickle leads UH with 17 kills (.227), Igiede finishes with 11 and is named to the all-tournament team. UH hits .130.
>> Two more Utah blocks power another 6-1 start for the Utes. Another by Drews and Evans makes it 8-3. Timeout UH.
>> Johnson kill off the block sparks a 5-0 UH run. Byrd teams with Igiede on a block and gets a tip to fall for a kill. Van Sickle tips one over the Utah block to tie it 9-9. Timeout Utah.
>> Johnson serve goes long and she hits long on the next play. UH challenges that there was a touch. Call stands, Utah leads 11-9.
>> Utah leads 17-14 when Johnson stuffs Weatherington and Drews’ tip comes up short to make it 17-16. Drews comes back with consecutive kills and Utah’s eighth ace of the match makes it 20-16. UH takes its second timeout of the set.
>> Igiede stops a 5-0 Utah run with a kill in the middle. Johnson pounds a kill off the block to make it 22-18. After a UH service error, Drews serves up Utah’s ninth ace. Jankiewicz taps down a free ball on set point, Utah wins it 25-18.
>> Skyler Williams and Mia Johnson into the lineup for UH. Grace is in on two more blocks to start the set, a third gives Utah a 4-1 lead. A missed connection in the middle makes it 5-1. Timeout UH.
>> Amber Igiede puts together a five-point service run and UH ties it up at 9-9 when Williams wins a joust at the net. Utes move back ahead and lead 13-10 on their fourth ace. Van Sickle gets UH’s first ace and closes to 13-12. Utah timeout.
>> The teams trade the lead and Utah moves ahead 19-18 on a Drews ace. UH goes on a 3-0 run and leads 21-19 on a Utah hitting error. Van Sickle gets a kill to make it 23-21 and Akana puts one away to give UH set point.
>> After a Utah timeout, Zoe Weatherington puts away a kill and Drews and Grace combine to block Akana. Timeout UH leading 24-23.
>> Skyler Williams angles a tip toward the sideline, it falls and UH wins the set 25-23 and ties the match 1-1.
>> UH starters: OH Brooke Van Sickle, MB Amber Igiede, MB Anna Kiraly, MB Braelyn Akana, S Mylana Byrd, OH Riley Wagoner, L Tayli Ikenaga.
>> The starters on the floor are different than what was introduced and Kiraly records her first block and kill early on. Utah with three blocks with Kahuku’s Phoebe Grace in on two. UH timeout trailing 14-10.
>> UH closes to 16-14 on Brooke Van Sickle’s back-to-back kills. Kenndi Evans’ kill is followed by a Dani Drews ace, four UH hitting errors (including a Utah block), gives the Utes a 22-14 lead.
>> Van Sickle ends the 6-0 Utah run, but serves out. Byrd’s attempt goes wide and Wagoner is blocked by Grace and Stef Jankiewicz to end the set with Utah winning 25-15.