Wahine im­prove to 6-5 with an­other sweep of North­ern Arizona

With a sweep of North­ern Arizona, Hawaii climbs above .500 for the first time this sea­son

Honolulu Star-Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE - By Cindy Luis cluis@starad­ver­tiser.com

Bal­ance and con­fi­dence. It was the one-two punch that Hawaii wanted and needed as it con­cluded its non­con­fer­ence vol­ley­ball sched­ule on Saturday night with a 2514, 25-12, 25-12 sweep of North­ern Arizona. A Stan Sher­iff Cen­ter crowd of 4,369 saw 15 Rain­bow Wahine play in the 88-minute match, eight of them record­ing two or more kills. Led by se­nior mid­dle Emily Maglio’s 11 kills and a ca­reer-high 10 from sopho­more hit­ter McKenna Ross, Hawaii (6-5) moved above .500 for the first time this sea­son with its fourth con­sec­u­tive vic­tory. Sopho­more set­ter Norene Iosia fin­ished with her third con­sec­u­tive dou­ble-dou­ble (24 as­sists, 11 digs), her sev­enth for the year, and se­nior libero Sa­vanah Ka­hakai added 17 digs, her sev­enth match in dou­ble dig­its.

“I’m happy with the bal­ance — every­one came in and took care of busi­ness,” Wahine coach Robyn Ah Mow-San­tos said. “Mov­ing from the first day un­til now you see the im­prove­ment — can use all the play­ers on the bench know­ing they can con­trib­ute.

“I feel good, hav­ing the abil­ity that we can put other peo­ple in and they’ll take con­trol.” That hap­pened with Ross, who re­placed ju­nior hit­ter McKenna Granato in Set 2. Some­what un­der­sized at 5-foot-10, the daugh­ter of for­mer two-sport ath­lete Ja­son Ross used what the NAU block gave her and hit smart, with just two er­rors and a .348 per­cent­age.

“We al­ways talk about com­ing in off the bench with con­fi­dence,” said ju­nior re­serve set­ter Faith Ma’afala, who played in parts of the last two sets. “I saw her per­form­ing with con­fi­dence and, when I came in, I took that con­fi­dence for my­self and said, ‘I can do this, let’s go.’ ”

Hawaii went hard for most of the match, par­tic­u­larly on serve and on de­fense. While only fin­ish­ing with six aces — down from the 13 recorded in Fri­day’s sweep — the Wahine kept the Lum­ber­jacks out of sys­tem and of­ten forced over­passes that re­sulted in slam­back kills.

Hawaii also threw some wrin­kles into its of­fense head­ing into Fri­day’s Big West opener with UC Irvine (12-1). The goal has been to have Maglio be­come a six-ro­ta­tion player, where she serves as well as at­tacks from be­hind the 3-me­ter line. Maglio, an All-Amer­i­can on the beach, served for four straight as the Wahine pulled away at 21-11 in Set 3, a run that in­cluded her sec­ond ca­reer ace and back-row kill. Ross put down her 10th kill to jump­start a 4-0 clos­ing spurt that in­cluded Ma’afala’s first ca­reer kill, on a dump shot, and fresh­man de­fen­sive spe­cial­ist Rika Okino her first ca­reer ace, one that hit the tape and rolled over to end the night.

Ju­nior hit­ter Kaylie Jor­gen­son had 10 kills for the Lum­ber­jacks (4-7).

Set 1 was nearly a re­peat of Fri­day’s opener, as se­nior de­fen­sive spe­cial­ist Clare-Marie An­der­son camped out on the back line as Hawaii jumped out 7-1. Maglio was in on four straight points, two kills sand­wich­ing two blocks. The Wahine sided out at 85 per­cent, al­low­ing the Lum­ber­jacks to score con­sec­u­tive points only twice. NAU did a bet­ter job on serve-re­ceive un­til the mid­dle of Set 2. Ka­hakai’s ex­tended stay on the back line in­cluded an ace and two kills on service over­passes and the Lum­ber­jacks used both time­outs dur­ing the 8-0 run. NAU’s lone point dur­ing Hawaii’s 11-1 clos­ing spurt came on Ka­hakai’s service er­ror. Hawaii fin­ished with a 6246 edge in digs.

Note

In the ear­lier alum­nae match, the White de­feated the Green 20-25, 25-16, 12-10 (time limit).

The match started off with Ah Mow-San­tos serv­ing an ace for the White. Set 1 ended with a kill by Aven Lee, the Wahine di­rec­tor of vol­ley­ball oper­a­tions.

The cur­rent Hawaii play­ers were able to watch part of the ear­lier match. Said Ma’afala: “Every­one is leg­endary out there.”

KAT WADE / SPE­CIAL TO THE STAR-AD­VER­TISER

UH set­ter Norene Iosia watched mid­dle hit­ter Emily Maglio get a kill past a North­ern Arizona block.

KAT WADE / SPE­CIAL TO THE STAR-AD­VER­TISER

Sa­vanah Ka­hakai re­turned a Lum­ber­jacks hit. Ka­hakai led the Rain­bow Wahine with 17 digs.

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