By Kainoa Carlson
MANOA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow - The 20th ranked Rainbow Wahine volleyball team came up just short in a five set thriller in their season opener against Marquette, 24-26, 25-21, 25-18, 18-25, 15-12. The loss, spoiling the debut of first year head coach Robyn Ah Mow-Santos. Despite overcoming early deficits in sets one and four, serves into the net, and hitting errors proved to be too much to overcome in the fifth and final set.
Senior Emily Maglio led the Rainbows with 14 kills. Junior outside hitter Mckenna Granato also added 13 kills and had 11 digs. Also in her first collegiate game, Freshman Skyler Williams showed that she will be a force in the middle for years to come. She tallied a match high 12 blocks in her debut.Traditionally used primarily as a middle hitter, Maglio switched to the outside in set four where she had success, and says she doesn't mine the switch in position.
"I felt good when I got out there," said Maglio. "It's always nice getting to play different parts of the court, not just in the middle."
The Golden Eagles were led by Sophomore outside hitter Allie Barber, who had a match high 22 kills. After falling in the first set, Marquette went on to take set two, capitalizing on 13 Wahine hitting errors. In set three, the big swings from the Golden Eagles continued, they totaled 18 kills in set three alone, to just nine for the 'Bows.
"We wanted to pass a little bit better, and have more ball control," said Ah Mow-Santos. "It wasn't working, it was going up and down."
Set four was perhaps the best set the Wahine played all night. Leading from beginning to end. Maglio made the switch to outside to get more swings while Junior Casey Castillo, replaced her as the middle hitter. The 'Bows led by as many as eight points while the Eagles committed seven errors, and were forced into a decisive set five.
However in the final set, the Golden Eagles got ahead early and never looked back. They led six to zero and the hole would be to great to climb out of. The Wahine would rally back late in the match to tie it at 12. But a Granato hit into a double block at the net would end the comeback for good. Ah-Mow Santos says that despite the lost she was proud of the effort her team showed to get back in it.
"They fought back hard, coming back from 7-2," said Ah-Mow Santos. "What more could you ask for? The girls went all out."
The Rainbow Wahine will now face No. 22 San Diego on Day Two of the Texaco Rainbow Wahine Invitational at 7 p.m. in the Stan Sheriff Center.