HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) -The No. 19 University of Hawai’i women’s volleyball team (13-2, 3-1 Big West) embarks on a pivotal road-trip this week.
The Wahine will battle two undefeated league leaders—two-time defending Big West champions, Cal Poly (12-5, 5-0 Big West) on Friday, October 11 and UC Santa Barbara (15-1, 5-0 Big West) on Saturday, Oct. 12.
In the most recent AVCA poll the Wahine dropped eights spots to No. 19 after suffering a monumental upset this past Friday at the Stan Sheriff Center.
After jumping ahead by two sets against UC Irvine, the Anteaters rebounded to win the three final frames--to claim the upset victory, the win marked the first time that UH had ever lost to UC Irvine.
Wahine assistant coach Kaleo Baxter believes the team was taught a valuable lesson that night.
“Irvine came out and had a good game plan against us,” said Baxter. “We kind of let our foot off the pedal after set two, we as a team can’t do that and we have to push to finish out each match because every team is going to be gunning for us.”
That sediment was only reassured the following night as California State University Fullerton pushed the Wahine to the brink.
The Titans jumped out to a two set lead and were just moments away from sweeping the Wahine on their home-court for the first time all season.
However, with their backs against the wall and a second consecutive defeat looming, the Wahine turned to one of their most experienced players--Norene Iosia.
Iosia, moved to outside hitter for the final sets of the match and the 'Bows were able to rally from down two sets for the victory.
Following back to back five set matches at home, Iosia says the Wahine wouldn’t be denied against Fullerton, no matter what the odds we’re.
“The first and second sets weren’t good," said Iosia. "Something sparked us and it fired us up, I think coach Kaleo’s talk about what kind of player we want to be and not wanting to lose really helped us.”
The home-split has taught the Warriors valuable lessons moving forward into their second road trip against a pair of undefeated Big West teams, and coach Baxter know’s the Wahine will get every team’s best shot.
“We have a huge target on our back,” said Baxter. “Teams are going to bring their best and we have to grow from this experience and learn from it.”
Both of the 'Bows matches against Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara are slated to begin at 4: 00 p.m. Hawai’i time.