Maui Sports

No. 25 California Beats No. 6 Hawai’i in Five Sets

September 3, 2012, 8:36 AM HST
* Updated September 3, 10:02 AM
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Rainbow Wahine Jane Croson hits a kill shot past the California block in Sunday’s match at the Stan Sheriff Center. Photo by UH Athletics.

By Rodney S. Yap

Rainbow Wahine Emily Hartong had 18 kills and 14 digs but it wasn’t enough, as the No. 25 California defeated No. 6 University of Hawai’i in five sets  — 25-23, 16-25, 20-25, 25-17, 15-12 — of the finale of the Hawaiian Airlines Classic on Sunday at the Stan Sheriff Center.

Cal (2-3) entered the match winless in tournament, but had enough on the evening to down the Bows (5-1) who fall from the ranks of the unbeaten. Hartong was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player with Jade Vorster and Mita Uiato named all-tournament, Hawai’i entered the match already the tournament champion based on a head-to-head tiebreaker with Baylor.

Adrienne Gehan had 13 kills and 17 digs to lead the Golden Bears, who handed the Bows their first loss of the season for the second time in four years. Croson had 17 kills and Uiato had a team-best 16 digs. Molokai’s Kalei Adolpho was fantastic at the net, equaling a career-high eight blocks. Hartong and Vorster both had four blocks of their own.

The Bows were not sharp to open the match, as Cal capitalized on a series of miscues to win the opening set. Despite being out of form, UH led 15-11 but Cal stormed back to take a 22-20 lead and eventually the set.

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Hawai’i seemed to have the match at hand with solid wins in sets two and three, but the Bears didn’t give in and rallied to push the match to a fifth set. The Bows fell behind early but staved of three match-points before tasting defeat. UH appeared to have earned the point to push the score to 15-14, but a fluke bump by Nikki Gromar landed just over the net on the Rainbow Wahine side to end the match.

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In first match of the night, Baylor defeated San Francisco in four sets (25-14, 22-25, 25-22, 25-19) to clinch second place in the tournament.

The Bows next host the Verizon Volleyball Challenge from Sept. 7-9 where they will play Idaho, San Diego State, and defending national champion UCLA. UH opens against San Diego State on Friday at 7 p.m. at the Stan Sheriff Center.

UH Boxscore by NCAA.

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