Wahine Volleyball: Turn back the Cats in 5

The Rainbow Wahine volleyball team wins another match in five games and opens the season with three straight wins.

HONOLULU - The No. 13 University of Hawai`i Rainbow Wahine (3-0, 3-0 HAL) held on to defeat the No. 17 Arizona Wildcats (2-2, 1-2 HAL) 30-24, 33-31, 26-30, 26-30, 15-11 in front of a crowd of 6,661 to win their third-straight Hawaiian Airlines Wahine Volleyball Classic Sunday.

Susie Boogaard led the way for Hawai`i, putting away 21 kills, three aces and five blocks. Alicia Arnott added 18 kills, 12 digs and two aces, while Victoria Prince had 12 kills and six blocks. Kanoe Kamana`o earned classic most outstanding player honors with her third-straight double-double, putting up 52 assists and 12 digs. Ashley Watanabe had a career-high 20 digs while Tara Hittle put up 10 kills.

The Rainbow Wahine took an early 4-1 lead in game one and never really looked back. Arizona got within one point at 16-15, but UH responded with a 7-1 run to pull away, pushing it to 23-16 before winning the first game 30-24.

Game two was much closer as neither team could get a lead of more than three points. Hawai`i had a 16-13 lead before a 6-2 Arizona run, capped by a kill by Bre Ladd, gave the Wildcats a slight 19-18 edge. U of A would get their lead up to 26-23 and get their first game point at 29-26. But a resilient Rainbow Wahine squad fought back with consecutive blocks by Prince and an ace by Boogaard, tying it at 29. UH held off five game points in all, as two blocks by Kari Gregory and a kill by Arnott gave them a 33-31 game two victory.

Arizona came out fired up in the third game, holding the lead the entire time to take it 30-26. The Wildcats continued their dominant run into the fourth gmae, taking an early 9-3 lead. Hawai`i would earn their only tie of the game at 19-19, but the Wildcats pulled away to a 30-26 victory, forcing the decisive game five.

In the fifth game, the two teams traded the lead back and forth to start out. Arizona had a 7-6 lead before Hawai`i ripped off a big four-point run to go up 10-7. The Wildcats cut it back to one point at 10-9, but it was UH's match to take as Prince put away the final ball on a step out, giving the Rainbows a 15-11 game five victory.

Hawai`i will next host No. 3 UCLA, No. 22 Santa Clara and Southwest Missouri State in the Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Volleyball Challenge from Sept. 9-11. The Rainbow Wahine will first play Southwest Missouri State at approximately 7 p.m. on Sept. 9, following the challenge opener between UCLA and Santa Clara, which starts at 5 p.m.

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