The University of Hawai'i Rainbow Wahine brought their best when it mattered most, cruising to a 25-20, 25-13, 25-19 win over Santa Clara in the opening match of the NCAA Women's Volleyball Tournament at Alaska Airlines Arena. The 'Bows play the winner of Washington and Central Arkansas on Saturday at 7:00 p.m. PT (5:00 p.m. HT) for a spot in next week's Omaha Regional.
Jane Croson posted a season-high 22 kills, a career-best for a three-set match, while hitting at an astounding .419 clip. Emily Hartong buried 17 kills (.375) and Jade Vorster posted five kills and six blocks. The 'Bows (27-2) were at their best in the second set when they committed no hitting errors and hit at a season-high .667 clip. Overall, UH hit .386.
Taylor Milton had 10 kills and 11 digs for Santa Clara, who close the season at 20-12. Katy Schatzman added a team-high 12 digs.
In set one, the 'Bows grabbed early leads of two and three points but Santa Clara repeatedly rallied to remain in the hunt. A Kalei Adolpho (4 kills) kill gave Hawai'i a 13-10 lead but kills by Katherine Douglas (7 kills, 8 digs) and Megan Anders (8 kills) helped SCU even the set at 13-13. The 'Bows ran off three straight points of their own highlighted by a pair of thunderous Hartong kills. Croson was on a torrid pace with eight kills in the set, and the 'Bows pulled away to grab the early lead.
The momentum carried over into the second set in a big way. Hartong buried seven kills and Croson crushed eight more to highlight the impressive second-set hitting performance for Hawai'i. The 'Bows never trailed in the third set, using a 6-1 run late in the set to close the door on the Broncos.
Ali Longo contributed a match-high 17 digs, with Croson and Mita Uiato (41 assists) leading UH with nine digs each.