The field for the inaugural 2023 Outrigger Big West Women’s Volleyball Championship is set. With the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa’s senior night win over Long Beach State on November 18, the Rainbow Wahine earned the No. 2 seed and a first round bye in the first-ever Big West Championship at the Walter Pyramid in Long Beach, November 22–25.
UH, the three-time defending Big West champions, earned the tiebreaker for the second seed over No. 3 seed Cal Poly in the third tiebreaking step. After splitting the two-game regular-season series, and matching one another against common opponents starting from the top of the table, it came down to the best total win/loss set record in conference matches. With UH sweeping through 11 opponents and dropping just 15 sets in league action, the ‘Bows earned their semifinal spot.
No. 3 seed Cal Poly plays No. 6 seed UC Davis in the first round, while No. 4 seed Long Beach State plays No. 5 seed UC Irvine. The winner of the Cal Poly/UC Davis match will face off against the Rainbow Wahine on November 24 at 7 p.m. PST, and the winner of the Long Beach State/UC Irvine match plays No. 1 seed UC Santa Barbara on November 24 at 4 p.m. PST. The semifinal winners will play in the championship match on November 25 at 5 p.m. PST.
The victor will not only hoist the trophy but earn the conference’s automatic bid into the 2023 NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball Championship.
Senior night victory
UH defeated Long Beach State on senior night, avenging its earlier loss to the Beach on the road in September. A season-high crowd of 8,216 watched the Rainbow Wahine win in four sets, 25-23, 25-23, 14-25 and 25-17.
Amber Igiede tied her season high with 21 kills on 37 swings to hit .432. The senior middle blocker enters the Big West Championship with 1,325 career kills, becoming the 12th player to go over 1,300 mark.
Sophomore outside hitter Caylen Alexander came off the bench and ignited the first set comeback, putting away 19 kills. Senior Kendra Ham set a career high with four service aces. UH setter Kate Lang matched her season high with 50 assists and had nine digs. Libero Tayli Ikenaga led the defense with 15 digs.
Following the match, the Rainbow Wahine held a senior night celebration to honor their six seniors: Igiede, Ham, Riley Wagoner, Kennedi Evans, Talia Edmonds and Chandler Cowell.