In a battle of the top two teams in the Big West Conference, the University of Hawai'i women's volleyball team remained undefeated in league play with a 26-28, 25-22, 25-13, 25-20 win over Long Beach State on Friday night at the Walter J. Pyramid.
The win was the 16th-straight for Hawai'i who improved to 21-1 overall and 11-0 in conference. It was the first home loss for LBSU since the 'Bows won in 2013.
Nikki Taylor had a match-high 20 kills to go along with 14 digs for her fifth double-double of the season. Olivia Magill had 10 kills and six blocks for the nation's top blocking team and Tai Manu-Olevao nearly had a double-double of her own with 11 kills and nine digs.
Nele Barber paced the Beach (20-6, 10-3 BWC) with 16 kills and 16 digs, and Mykah Wilson added a match-high 17 digs.
The opening set saw a nip-and-tuck battle until LBSU took a 13-10 lead off an Ashley Murray (10 kills) kill. UH responded and took a three point lead of its own, 21-18 after a Magill kill. The 'Bows would be unable to put the Beach away though and, despite having two set points, could not close out the set as LBSU rallied for the win.
UH evened up the match with a 25-22 win in set two, this time never relinquishing a lead they got midway through the set. Magill and Taylor both had a pair of blocks down the stretch for the 'Bows who squared matters heading into the locker room.
UH returned and quickly dispatched the 49ers to stamp the four-set victory. Back-to-back kills by Manu-Olevao helped UH build an 11-5 lead in set three, then another Manu-Olevao kills capped a 5-0 run to finish off the set. The 'Bows scored the first eight points of the fourth set, half coming off service aces from Tayler Higgins. A Peyton Grahovac kill brought LBSU to within five points but that would be as close as the Beach would get.
The 'Bows remain on the road and will have less than 24 hours to rest before facing CSUN on Saturday night. First serve is set for 7:00 p.m. PT (5:00 p.m. HT).
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