Maybe they were just hungry. Not just for playing time but to help end a losing streak.
Freshmen Annika DeGoode and Anna Kiraly made the most of their first collegiate starts Friday night, sparking Hawaii to a 25-17, 11-25, 25-21, 25-20 victory over USC in the opener of the Outrigger Volleyball Series at SimpliFi Arena at Stan Sheriff Center.
Opposite De Goede had a team-high 11 kills, hitting .429, and middle blocker Kiraly added eight kills as the Rainbow Wahine (3-4) snapped a three-match skid. Hawai’i finished with a 73-60 edge in digs, with three players in double digits, and a 6-2 advantage in aces when handing the Women of Troy (3-4) their third consecutive loss.
Brooke Botkin, one of five graduate students in SC’s starting lineup, finished with a match-high 17 kills and Kaylen Owes came off the bench for 10. Senior setter Raquel Lazaro, replacing freshman Mia Tuaniga to start Set 2, added a double-double with 32 assists and 13 digs.
The teams meet again Saturday night at 7.
“On the road, we got a taste of what maybe we could have this year,” Kiraly said. “Tonight, we added a little bit more flavor. We have to make a great dish.”
Hawai’i was cooking at the start, breaking away from a 5-5 tie to leads of 12-6 and 16-9 on very efficient hitting. Hawai’i hit .314 with just three hitting errors, siding-out at 82 percent while SC hit .025.
The Women of Troy held off two set points, picking up some momentum that carried over to Set 2. With a change at setter —Lazaro for Tuaniga — USC found its rhythm early and often.
The Women of Troy took advantage of nine UH hitting errors and were able to go on several scoring runs, including a 5-0 spurt that gave SC a 15-6 lead. The Wahine never got closer than eight the rest of the way.
Set 3 was tight from the start, with eight ties through 11-11. Hawai’i gained a little breathing room when pushing ahead 15-12.
The Women of Troy used two consecutive blocks to knot it at 16. The Wahine scored twice only to have SC tie it again at 18.
A kill by Amber Igiede and two by De Goode put Hawai’i up for good at 23-20. Kiraly had a solo stuff and, after SC held off one set point, Kiraly ended it on a step-out play to put the Wahine up 2-1.
Hawai’i looked comfortable when leading 8-4, perhaps too comfortable. SC got hot with three kills from Botkin sparking a 7-1 run that put the Women of Troy ahead at 12-9.
The Wahine chipped away, taking a 16-15 lead on a kill by senior Brooke Van Sickle and an ace from Janelle Gong. The sixth and final tie came at 17, with Hawai’i winning a challenge and SC losing a challenge … a four-point swing … to pull away for good at 24-17.
The run saw freshman libero Tayli Ikenaga’s first career ace. She also finished with 15 digs.
The Women of Troy held off three match points but not a fourth. Freshman hitter Mia Johnson put down her fifth kill to end it after 2 hours and 4 minutes.
It was the first match of the season that Van Sickle wasn’t the Wahine kill leader, finishing with nine, to go with 14 digs.
“There’s a lot we need to work on,” Hawai’i coach Robyn Ah Mow said looking ahead to Saturday. “SC will come out strong again.
“Obviously it feels good (to win), coming back from a road trip 0-3.”
“It feels like revenge for ourselves,” De Goode said. “We know what we’re capable of, showed more of that today.”
“We really needed this win for the team,” Kiraly said. “We have to build on this. We are home so let’s keep it going.”