The first set Friday between the University of Hawaii and Long Beach State was action-packed and intense enough on its own.
Turns out the crowd at Walter Pyramid in Southern California hadn’t really seen anything yet.
Outside hitter Emily Hartong’s career night helped the No. 9 Rainbow Wahine volleyball team enjoy all the suspense.
Hartong recorded career highs with 33 kills and 15 digs as UH remained unbeaten in the Big West with a 24-26, 34-32, 26-24, 25-22 victory.
Several players for UH (13-2, 11-0) set career bests during the 213-point marathon: outside hitter Ashley Kastl posted 13 kills and 19 digs; middle blocker Jade Vorster smacked 13 kills for the second time in three matches; middle blocker Kalei Adolpho added 10 kills; setter Mita Uiato’s 61 assists were her most this season.
However, nobody was as impressive, pivotal or busy as Hartong, who made only seven errors on 79 swings and hit .329.
Alex Reid (.404) ripped 20 kills and Janisa Johnson finished with 14 kills and 25 digs for the 49ers (11-10, 6-4), who were much more competitive against the ‘Bows than they were earlier this season in getting swept in Honolulu.
The Game 1 followed a familiar script for UH: Chisom Okpala (15 kills) and Reid put own balls as the ‘Bows lost the opening set for the fourth straight match.
The script was completely flipped in a second set that featured 18 ties and 19 lead changes. Kills by Kastl and Hartong helped fight off two set points, then after a Hartong kill gave UH its sixth set point, a Reid attack error finally evened the match.
UH, which must make a quick turnaround today against Cal Irvine, fought off another set point in Game 3, clinching it on kills by Hartong and Vorster.
The fourth set was a breeze by comparison. Adolpho’s kill broke a 22-22 tie, and Emily Maeda’s ace secured Hawaii’s 66 consecutive conference victory.
Vorster and Adolpho each hit .600 for UH (.313). Long Beach hit .244.
For good measure, Hartong served four aces.