BY KATHY HANSBERRY — On Sept. 8, 9 and 11, a combined crowd of 18,300 fans gathered for the Outrigger Resorts Volleyball Challenge at the Stan Sheriff Center, as the Rainbow Wahine volleyball team hosted a three-night tourney.
The Rainbow Wahine hosted visiting teams from Northern Illinois, Utah Valley and Washington State and faced the Wolverines of Utah Valley Thursday night for the tournament opener. A crowd of 6,856 watched as the Rainbow Wahine swept Utah Valley in three sets: 25-18, 25-21, 25-8. The home team had four players in double-figure kills, while Savanah Kahakai led UH with 10 digs.
On Friday night, 6,000 fans gathered at the Stan Sheriff Center again to support the Rainbow Wahine in their second game of the tournament against Northern Illinois. The Rainbow Wahine battled in the first set and then pulled away in the second and third sets to sweep Northern Illinois: 26-24, 25-15 and 25-15. Nikki Taylor led the Rainbow Wahine with a match-high of 18 kills, while Savanah Kahakai recorded 14 digs.
The final night of the tournament paired Hawai‘i against the University of Washington Huskies with 5,449 in attendance. The Rainbow Wahine battled to the end but came up short to an exhilarating five-set heartbreaker: 23-25, 25-17, 26-28, 25-23, 13-15. With the win, the Huskies captured the championship of the Outrigger Resorts Volleyball Challenge. Nikki Taylor led the Rainbow Wahine with a career-high 29 kills and a season-high seven blocks Sunday night. In addition, Emily Maglio and Nikki Taylor were recognized for the All-Tournament team.
Mahalo to president and CEO of Outrigger Hotel and Resorts, David Carey, for representing Outrigger during the awards presentation where he was joined by University of Hawai‘i Associate Athletics Director-SWA Marilyn Moniz-Kaho‘ohanohano as they co-presented the Championship Trophy, Most Outstanding Player and All-Tournament Honors.
As tournament sponsor, #teamOutrigger added to the excitement with fun interactive activities, social media photo opportunities, giveaways and the crowd favorite, “Outrigger Hukilau,” an on-court intermission promotion where two contestants team up for a chance to win up to $2,000. This year the winners of the three halftime Hukilau games walked away with between $250 and $800 each!
As always, the tournament was a huge success thanks to our dedicated #teamOutrigger volunteers! Mahalo to: Aitogi Totemese, Ashley Cabradilla, Courtney Miyashiro, Danette Lionetti, Debbie White, Debbie Hendrawidjaja, Devon Yamamoto, Ellie Agustin, Eric Vidal, Gay Shinbara, Jeff Hendrawidjaja, Jennifer Cabasag, Jennifer Frias, Jimmy Lagunero, Jo-Ann Yonamine, Joey Fukuoka, Jolynn Nihipali, Kelli Morihara, Kelsey Morihara, Kyle Vidal, Lani Von, Larry Wong, Lauren Yamamoto, Lianne Bryant, Lisa Asakura, Malia Espinda, Nadine Chun, Ricol Akana-Phillips, Stephanie Nojima, Teagan Link, Thaila Lagunero and Toni IcarangalHawai‘i, now ranked No. 15, will take on Pepperdine University at the Stan Sheriff Center this Friday, Sept. 16, and Saturday, Sept. 17. First serve starts at 7 p.m.