Volleyball: Wahine beat Stanford in five games

Second ranked Hawaii defeats fourth ranked Stanford in five games to win the Sprint Hawaii Invitational.

HONOLULU - The No. 2 University of Hawai`i Rainbow Wahine (9-1) defeated the No. 4 Stanford Cardinal (6-2) 30-22, 29-31, 30-27, 25-30 and 16-14 in front of a boisterous crowd of 8,740 in the championship match of the Sprint Hawaii Invitational Saturday night. It was the first time the Rainbow Wahine had beat the Cardinal in the last seven meetings, dating back to 1991.

Lily Kahumoku led the way for Hawai`i with 25 kills and a career-high 21 digs. Kim Willoughby had a match-high 28 kills to go with her 18 digs and three aces. Lauren Duggins came up big with 13 kills, six digs and seven blocks (four solo blocks), while Nohealani Tano hit a match-high .650 with a career-high 13 kills and no errors, along with 10 digs.Kanoe Kamana`o continued to look like a seasoned veteran, posting 74 assists, 10 digs and four kills while pacing the Hawai`i attack. Melissa Villaroman also played solid in the back-row, finishing with 15 digs.

Stanford jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead in game one before two kills by Tano and a UH double-block put Hawai`i up 3-2. The Rainbow Wahine would then go on another small run, taking a 10-5, forcing Cardinal head coach John Dunning to take an early timeout. Stanford would stage a comeback, cutting to within two points at 21-19. But Kamana`o then came up big, adding a kill and an ace to go up 23-19 forcing another Stanford timeout. UH would continue to roll out of the break, as Tano ended game one with her fifth kill of the game, putting the finishing touches on a 9-3 run to end game one 30-22.

Game two started out really tight, seeing ties at 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 and 14 before the Cardinal took a 15-14 lead into the media timeout. Stanford would then score three straight points to increase their edge to four points. The Cardinal would get the lead to 22-17 before a three-point run by the Rainbow Wahine cut the deficit to two points. Hawai`i would get back into it, tying the game at 28 off a Duggins dump set. Stanford would get to game point on a Jennifer Harvey tip before Willoughby would come back with a kill to tie it again at 29. But Stanford would fight right back, reeling off two big points to take game two 31-29.

Game three would again start out tight as Stanford would take an early lead at 12-10. But Hawai`i would come back as three straight blocks by Duggins would give UH a 15-13 lead at the media timeout. The two teams would then trade mini-runs, as Stanford would cut the Rainbow Wahine lead to 20-19. The Cardinal again would get within a point a couple more times before a big kill by Tano gave UH at 30-27 win in game three.

The Cardinal would come out determined in game four, taking an early 6-2 lead, forcing a timeout by Dave Shoji. Stanford would continue to work it, holding a 20-9 lead before Hawai`i would start to mount a huge comeback. The Rainbow Wahine got the deficit down to 22-20 on a huge 11-2 run, but it proved not to be enough as the Cardinal took game four 30-25 on a Kristen Richards kill.

Stanford jumped out to a 4-1 lead early in the fifth game, only to see the Rainbow Wahine come back and take a 7-6 lead on a Tano kill. From there it would be nip and tuck as neither team would be up by more than a point. The Cardinal would get the first match point at 14-13 on a service ace by Ogonna Nnamani. Hawai`i would then take a timeout to regroup before Tano came up with one of the biggest kills of the night to tie the game at 14-14. Then Kahumoku came in and put away two kills to end game five 16-14 and give UH the thrilling match.

Hawai`i will take a couple of days off before returning to the practice gym to get ready for No. 22 Loyola Marymount and UNLV, who come into the Stan Sheriff Center this weekend. UH will take on the Lions at 7 p.m. on Sept. 19 and the Rebels at 7 p.m. on Sept. 20.

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