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Outrigger Volleyball Challenge: 6 takeaways for Rainbow Wahine Volleyball 2023 | Week 3

ESPN Honolulu Rainbow Wahine play-by-play voice Tiff Wells with his six biggest takeaways from the previous week for the Bows 

1 – Continue to challenge the block. Yes Hawai`i was blocked 12 times en route to 31 hitting errors on Sunday in the 3-1 loss to UCLA, but the UH hitters kept on swinging. More often than not against the Bruins, UH’s first option was to swing away and then vary their tips and roll shots. More often than not through the first two weeks, there were more tips and roll shots than there were shots off the block.

2 – Maximize Igiede’s front row presence. Whenever Amber Igiede is in the front row, a UH serve cannot result in an error…it needs to be put in play. When you have one of the best blockers on the West Coast and in the country, her blocking effectiveness cannot be limited by a UH service error. To that end when Igiede is off the floor for three rotations, it’s imperative for UH to side out quickly and try to find a way to score a couple of points off their own serve.

3 – Find a way when in the 20s or up big. Everyday in practice, all teams have mini games to simulate match play when the score is 20-20. Twice against UCLA a set was tied at 20 only to see the Bruins emerge with the set victory each time. A team wants to be the first to reach five points in a set to establish a lead but a team also wants to have that ability when a set is tied late to find a way and close it out. Yes UH won Set 2 25-18 on Friday against Pepperdine, but UH had trouble closing out after leading 22-8. Set 3 featured an 18-9 lead before Pepperdine cut it to 21-19. Sometimes the hardest points to get are the last couple of ones to end a set but you would like to see the set end as quickly as possible when up late.

4 – Edmonds continues to settle in. Over the three matches last week, Hawai`i redshirt senior libero Talia Edmonds had a combined 44 digs (13 versus Liberty, 15 against Pepperdine and 16 vs. UCLA). Coupled with 12 assists and four service aces while being 82-of-85 on serve receive, Edmonds enters this week with a 3.48 digs per set average, which places her seventh in the Big West Conference. The senior leadership is there from her and you also routinely hear her on the court when UH is on serve receive.

5 – Defense…defense…defense. In these power five non-conference matchups, UH will more often than not be at a height disadvantage position by position. There might not be a lot of stuff blocks, but the touches at net help the backrow defense in slowing down the ball. That being said, the backrow defense and the front row off-blocker must continue to be ready for anything and everything sent their way. This program is known for its floor defense and there were a few times over the weekend where attacks hit the floor with no UH player making an attempt at a play on the ball.

6 – Nice bounceback for Alexander. A night after struggling offensively against Liberty (7-4-27, .111), sophomore pin hitter Caylen Alexander finished as the match leader in kills against Pepperdine with a season-high of 15. (15-4-37, .297). Then she had 15 kills on 32 swings with six hitting errors against UCLA.