Rainbow Wahine upset on the road

courtesy: UH Athletics
courtesy: UH Athletics

NORTHRIDGE, Calif. - Jade Vorster posted a career-high 10 blocks, Emily Hartong added 25 kills but it wasn't enough to prevent Cal State Northridge from upending the No. 8 University of Hawai'i Rainbow Wahine volleyball team on Thursday night at the Matadome. Set scores were 30-32, 28-26, 20-25, 25-22, 15-10.

Hartong recorded her 1,300th career kill but it came on a night when the 'Bows dropped their first conference road match in seven years. The loss also gives UH (16-3, 5-2 Big West) the most conference losses since 1994 when they went 15-3.

Casey Hinger had 16 kills to lead a balanced attack for the Matadors who improve to 17-4 overall and maintain their top spot in the Big West Conference standings at 7-1.

Hawai'i won the opening set 32-30 to set the stage for the epic match. The 'Bows led 9-5 but saw CSUN score five straight points to take the lead. Neither team gained much of an advantage until a Hinger kill and a Kelcie Randozza (19 digs) ace gave the Matadors a 21-18 lead.

Undaunted, Hawai'i rallied and tied the score on a Nikki Taylor (14 kills, 4 blks) kill, and then took a 23-22 lead on a smash by Tai Manu-Olevao. The 'Bows staved off four set points down the stretch and Kalei Adolpho sealed the wild first set win with one of her six kills. Manu-Olevao had 16 kills and 11 digs for her third double-double of the season.

The Matadors had control for much of set two, going on a 5-1 run midway through the set to take a six-point lead. The 'Bows rallied with a 5-1 run of their own to cut the lead to 21-20. The rally continued as UH had a set point at 24-23, but the match went into extras again, this time with CSUN finishing on top.

The 'Bows got the lead back in match when they used a late 9-1 run to win set three. A Hinger kill gave the Matadors a 19-16 lead, but Hawai'i took control of the set from there. Consecutive block assists by Vorster and Hartong capped six straight points for the 'Bows who won comfortably.

The match would belong to the Matadors from there. A 9-2 run in set three gave CSUN a lead it would not relinquish. Twice the 'Bows cut the lead to one point but Northridge held on to send the match to a fifth set. Set five saw Sydney Gedryn put down one of her seven kills to break a 7-7 tie as the Matadors cruised to the win.

The 'Bows will have a day off before they take on UC Davis this Saturday. First serve is set for 7:00 p.m. PT (4:00 p.m. HT).