HONOLULU - Tai Manu-Olevao had 13 kills, Sarah Mendoza had a match-high 18 digs but the No. 22 University of Hawaii Rainbow Wahine volleyball team dropped three close sets in a loss to No. 25 UCLA on Friday night in the Outrigger Resorts Volleyball Challenge. Set scores were 25-23, 25-23, 27-25.
Karsta Lowe was a thorn in UH's side all night, ripping a match-high 17 kills while committing just three errors. Karly Drolson led the Bruins with 10 kills.
Nikki Taylor made her first appearance of the season for Hawaii (5-3), coming off the bench in the third set and finishing with three kills and two digs. Kalei Greeley had 11 kills and Olivia Magill added a team-high seven blocks
Hawaii got off to a good start in the opening set. Back-to-back kills from Greeley and Kalei Adolpho (5 kills, 3 blocks) lifted the 'Bows to an early 10-7 lead but four straight Bruin points midway through the set put UCLA ahead 15-12. UH produced a rally of its own and the two teams went back and forth down the stretch, but a Manu-Olevao service error ended the set and gave UCLA the early set lead.
The second set saw a tremendous seesaw battle with the 'Bows coming up on the short end of the scoreline again. The Bruins led 4-1 after three Lowe kills but the 'Bows evened the set on an Adolpho kill. The largest Stan Sheriff Center crowd of the season would see the set tied 17 more times before UCLA (4-3) won another nail biter.
Set three was the tightest of the match as the 'Bows staved off three match points before two straight kills from Lowe clinched the set and match. UH had an early four-point lead but a Lowe kill tied the set at 9-9 and the two teams competed in another seesaw affair.
The 'Bows will have a day off before facing San Francisco on Sunday in the final match of the tournament. Start time is set for 5:00 p.m. Utah State and UCLA will close their tournaments on Saturday at 2:00 p.m.