HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. – The No. 5 University of Hawai'i split a pair of matches on the first day of the Big West Challenge Saturday in Huntington Beach, Calif. The SandBows fell to No. 6 Long Beach State, 3-2, to open the morning before coming back to defeat Cal Poly, 4-1.
The two-day, five-team event serves as a prelude to the Big West Championship to be held later this month. LBSU (15-3) and UH (16-4), the two league heavyweights, squared off in the second match of the day for the first time since UH defeated LBSU in the 2016 Big West Championship.
The SandBows took a 2-0 lead over the Beach with wins on the No. 3 and No. 5 court. Emily Maglio and Laurel Weaver bounced back from just their second loss of the season on Wednesday at Pepperdine with a 21-15, 21-15 win over Anete Brinke and Hailey Harward. Meanwhile, Ari Homayun and Carly Kan, who played at the No. 5 flight, also got back on the winning ledger with a 21-13, 21-16 sweep of Megan Kruidhof and Jenelle Hudson.
However, the Beach finished the match by winning the final three points at the No. 1, 2 and 4 courts. All five courts were decided in straight sets. With the win LBSU ended a four-match losing streak and defeated UH for the first time since the 2015 season.
UH came back in the afternoon match with convincing 4-1 win over Cal Poly (9-9). UH won in straight sets on courts 2, 3, 4 and 5. The Mustangs picked up their lone point at the No. 1 flight in a three-set nail-biter as Emily Sonny and Hannah Hubbard upset Morgan Martin and Mikayla Tucker 14-21, 24-22, 18-16. Cal Poly and UH will meet up again next week in Honolulu with a pair of matches on April 7 and 8.
UH will be back on the court tomorrow for the second day of the Big West Challenge when they face Sacramento State (8:00 a.m. HT) and CSUN (9:30 a.m. HT).