Emily Hartong was good as usual. Along with Tai Manu-Olevao’s breakout performance, that was good enough for No. 8 University of Hawaii to shrug off a first-set loss to Cal State Northridge.
Hartong equaled a season high with 21 kills Friday night and Manu-Olevao contributed 11 to power the Rainbow Wahine to a 22-25, 25-18, 25-21, 25-20 victory in a volleyball match at Stan Sheriff Center in Honolulu.
Manu-Olevao, a Punahou graduate, stepped up her play in the third match of her career, and UH (15-2) needed it to race to its eight consecutive Big West victory to start league play. The freshman outside hitter hit .273 on 22 swings, and six of her kills came in Game 2 as the ‘Bows turned the tide.
The Matadors (13-7, 4-4) hung tough by holding an 18-10 advantage in blocks, and they took advantage of 13 Hawaii service errors. Middle blocker Sam Kaul was credited with eight block assists to help limit the Rainbow Wahine to a .188 attack percentage.
Jade Vorster compiled 10 kills on .304 hitting for Hawaii and setter Mita Uiato added five on only seven swings with 49 assists.
Hawaii came in first in the league in attack percentage while Northridge was third, but both hit well below that. Northridge hit .287 in Game 1 but finished the match at .127
UH hadn’t trailed in sets in a league match since Northridge took the first and third games in the opener Sept. 19 in California, a match the ‘Bows eventually came back to win 3-2. The Matadors threatened to increase their lead Friday with a run midway through Game 2, but Hawaii responded.
Block assists by Vorster and Ashley Kastl (six kills, seven digs) and a Manu-Olevao kill fueled a 4-0 run to give UH a 16-14 lead. Then after sideout, Manu-Olevao put down another one to spark a six-point spurt.
Hartong helped UH take control from there, reaching double figures in kills for the 16th time this season and leading her team in kills for the 13th time. Second-leading hitter Jane Croson, who led the way in the first match against Northridge, missed her third consecutive match while on indefinite suspension.
Casey Hinger led the Matadors with eight kills, but leading hitter Britney Graff (seven) attacked at only a .056 rate. Cindy Ortiz posted a match-high 33 digs.
Ali Longo had 17 digs for Hawaii, which hosts Cal Davis at 7 p.m. Thursday at Stan Sheriff.