Middle blocker Amber Igiede goes off again as Hawaii sweeps West Virginia

Middle blocker Amber Igiede goes off again as Hawaii sweeps West Virginia

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The inside joke goes that Amber Igiede and Kate Lang “share a brain.”

Through two matches in the Outrigger Volleyball Challenge, Igiede’s dominance at the net has spoken to the connection between the Hawaii middle blocker and the Rainbow Wahine setter.

A night after tying her career high with 20 kills against Texas State, Igiede showed off her ability to dominate a match in a 16-kill, nine-block performance to lead the Rainbow Wahine to a sweep of West Virginia on Friday at SimpliFi Arena at Stan Sheriff Center.

With Lang feeding her in the middle, Igiede had 14 kills without an error in her first 20 attacks and ended the night with a .625 hitting percentage. She tied a career high three solo blocks and the Wahine posted a season-high 14.5 blocks in a 25-19, 25-17, 25-21 win before a crowd of 4,049.

“She comes in, she works hard, hence, .625 hitting percentage and nine blocks,” UH coach Robyn Ah Mow said after the Wahine improved to 2-3 overall and 2-0 in the tournament.

Igiede had four kills and three blocks in the first set, then took over early in the second with two kills and four more blocks in a 10-1 UH run. She put away UH’s last three kills of the second set and hammered her final kill on match point to end West Virginia’s bid to extend the match.

Over the past two nights, Igiede connected with Lang for 36 kills with just three errors in 56 attempts for a .589 hitting percentage.

“I would say me and Kate have a good relationship off the court,” Igiede said. “We have good communication between me, her and (middle Tiffany Westerberg). Sometimes we might overwhelm her, but she’s always open to our feedback, and she gives us feedback as well. It goes both ways, and I think that contributes to her always seeing me and Tiff in transition or in serve receive.

“We share a brain, that’s the little inside joke. … It’s just our relationship.”

UH outside hitter Riley Wagoner finished with eight kills and nine digs and tied a career high with five blocks. Libero Tayli Ikenaga anchored the back row with 11 digs.

The Wahine will face No. 23 UCLA for the tournament title at 5 p.m. on Sunday. The Bruins swept Texas State in Friday’s first match to also improve to 2-0 in the tournament.

West Virginia, led by Hilo’s Reed Sunahara, entered the tournament with eight freshmen and three sophomores on its 14-player roster. Fifth-year outside hitter Adrian Ell posted eight of the Mountaineers’ 10 kills in the first set and finished with a team-high 11 on .318 hitting. The Mountaineers ended the night hitting .010 as a team.

UH broke a 12-12 tie in the first set with a five-point run with Wagoner on the service line. Igiede tapped down her second block of the set and Wagoner followed with UH’s first ace of the match. The Wahine earned set point when Ikenaga popped up two digs to extend a rally that ended with a block by Igiede and Lang.

“Wearing the (libero) jersey, I want to continue to prove to my team and the coaches that I have this jersey for a reason and I need to be taking control of that back row,” Ikenaga said. “It’s very exciting in the moment, everything’s happening so fast. But being able to control that and calm things down is very important as well.”

Sunahara moved Ell to setter in the second set as Igiede repeatedly sent back Mountaineers attacks. Down 17-5, the Mountaineers went on a 9-2 run, most of it coming with Igiede off the floor. Wagoner put away back-to-back kills to halt the comeback and Igiede helped close out the set.

West Virginia erased a five-point deficit early in the third set to catch the Wahine at 17-17 and again at 20-20. UH closed the match on a 5-1 run with Igiede in on two more blocks before hammering her final kill to set up Sunday’s showdown with UCLA with the all-time series tied at 38-38.

No. 23 UCLA 3, Texas State 0

Freshman Grayce Olson, a 6-foot-4 opposite, posted 14 kills in 31 attempts and 6-5 middle Anna Dodson finished with nine kills in 12 error-free swings and the Bruins swept the Bobcats 25-22, 25-13, 25-18.

Giving Day tally

The Wahine on the Rise Giving Day generated $225,383 in donations to UH’s women’s athletic programs on Thursday.

Each of the 12 programs exceeded the initial goal of $2,500, with the Rainbow Wahine volleyball program leading the way with nearly $62,000.

The Wahine soccer team was next with $37,500, followed by basketball with more than $30,600. The funds go toward addressing needs specific to each program.

“I just want to say thank you to everybody out there that donated, helping all the women’s programs succeed here. its awesome,” Ah Mow said after Thursday’s win over Texas State.

UH will hold Wahine on the Rise — Field Day on Sept. 10 at the Clarence T.C. Ching Athletic Complex. The free event will feature interactive activities with Rainbow Wahine teams. The event is set for 4-6 p.m. and fans will have an opportunity to receive free tickets to that night’s volleyball match between UH and USC.

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