UH-Hilo pushed national runner-up and No. 3 Western Washington to a fifth game on Saturday at the D2 West Region Showcase at Kellogg Arena in Pomona, Calif.
The Vikings overcame a 2-1 deficit to rally past the Vulcans 23-25, 25-23, 23-25, 25-19, 15-10, winning their eighth straight.
The Vulcans (5-3) swept No. 20 Cal Poly Pomona on Saturday night 25-16, 25-22, 25-23 to split their four matches at the tourney.
Alexandra Parisian led UHH with 11 kills and four aces. Bria Beale had nine kills, three aces and 11 digs, while Amber Tai (8 kills), Emily Wade (6 kills) and Ashton Jessee (6 kills, .353) added to the offense. Kaila Lizama had 22 digs in the three sets.
Jazminn Parrish led the Broncos of the CCAA with 12 kills.
UHH had 11 aces in the match, compared to two for the Broncos, and also had 7.5 total blocks.
“I was really proud of how we played,” said UHH coach Chris Leonard of the loss. “We know now that we can compete physically with any team in the country. We have a lot of work to do, but we made some progress today.”
UHH had five players with double-figure kill numbers in the loss, led by a career-high 17 from Amber Tai. The junior outside hitter also had three service aces.
Parisian added 14 kills (.308), Beale had 11 with 14 digs, Wade added 11 (hitting.391) and Jessee had 11 kills (.409) with a solo block and five block assists. Freshman Kendall Kott had a career-high 54 assists and 12 digs, and Lizama added 18 digs.
Kayleigh Harper had 23 kills and Calley Heilborn had 20 for the hard-hitting Vikings, who hit .283. UHH hit .234.
Western Washington hit .500 in the final set and led the entire way. UHH got close twice at 9-8 and 12-10, but the Vikings scored the final three points.
“Western Washington is a very good attacking team and they do so many other things well,” Leonard said. “We know that we are close. We need to be more consistent, but this was a good step in the right direction.”
The Vulcans will open up Pacific West Conference action this weekend by hosting a pair of island rivals. On Saturday, Chaminade visits at 7 p.m., followed by an encounter with Hawaii Pacific on Sunday (3 p.m.).
UHH beat Central Washington 4-2 in Idaho to finish a four-match road trip with a 1-2-1 record.
Annie Brejc, Brenna Rill, Piper Collado, and Nanea Wall each scored for the Vulcans, who set a highest scoring output since 2012 when they scored six times against Chaminade.
“Our defense has been solid and we have been close on offense,” UHH coach Gene Okamura said. “It was nice to get the offense going today and head home on a positive note.”
UHH didn’t get a shot off for the first 27 minutes. Then Brejc took a pass from Jodi Lillie to tie the match at 1-1, the score at halftime.
Rill, a Nampa native, who transferred from the University of Idaho, scored six minutes into the second half to push the Vulcans ahead 2-1. Five minutes later, Collado scored, and Wall scored with 10 minutes left.
UHH’s home opener is against Hawaii Pacific at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 28.