HONOLULU-- The University of Hawai'i women's volleyball team (1-3) was looking for their first win of the season in their opening match of the Hawaiian Airlines Rainbow Wahine Classic. They got the win they were looking for against Western Carolina in a sweep, 25-15, 25-14. 25-13, to give head coach Robyn Ah Mow-Santos her first win of her career. Hawai'i out-hit WCU, .259-to--.086 and UH recorded 13 total blocks against the Catamounts on Thursday night at the Stan Sheriff Center.
Junior outside hitter McKenna Granato led the Rainbow Wahine with eight kills, two service aces and eight digs. Senior middle hitter Emily Maglio and freshman middle hitter Skyler Williams tied for the most blocks with five each, while junior outside hitter Casey Castillo came in a close second in kills with seven and three blocks. Sophomore setter Norene Iosia recorded a double-double with 22 assists and a team-high 13 digs. Overall, UH had seven different players notch at least two kills with 13 different Rainbow Wahine seeing action in the three-set match.
The first set started out as an equal match for both teams. They traded points early in the frame, but UH started to pull away with the set. They took the first set 25-15. This set was the first time senior defensive specialist Gianna Guinasso got to see the court this season.
The 'Bows came out strong, taking the lead early in the second set and never looked back for a 25-14 win. Freshman middle hitter Sophia Howling and sophomore outside hitter Kirsten Sibley both made their second appearance of the season. Howling getting her first kill and first block.
Howling got her first set start of her collegiate career in the third set. Howling ended the night with two kills and two blocks. Junior setter Faith Ma'afala also got to see her first time on the court after redshirting last season to chip in a pair of assists.
For the Western Carolina Catamounts, freshman outside hitter Gabby Gray led the way with eight kills, seven digs and a block. Senior middle hitter Katie O'Connor led in blocks with three. As a team, they ended the night with a hitting percentage of -.086.
Next up the Rainbow Wahine look to keep their winning streak alive in their match on Sept. 1 against South Dakota at 7 p.m.