EUGENE, Ore. – Hawaii (24-8) had 13 blocks as it turned back No. 7 seed Iowa State (20-10), 3-1 (16-25, 26-24, 25-18, 25-23), Thursday evening in the first round of the NCAA Tournament at Matthew Knight Arena on the campus of the University of Oregon.
The Cyclones claimed the first set behind a 15-1 run and led much of the second set before relinquishing the lead late. ISU could never regain momentum as the Rainbow Wahine easily won the third set and held the Cyclones off in the fourth to advance.
The Cyclones were paced by senior Alexis Engelbrecht, who finished with 13 kills while hitting .478. Maya Duckworth posted her seventh double-double of the season, finishing with 15 kills and 11 digs to go along with a career-high matching five services aces. The Cyclones notched eight aces as a team.
Freshman Nayeli Gonzalez was in double figures with 12 kills and 14 digs for her seventh double-double of the season. She broke Rachel Hockaday’s freshman point record, finishing her first season at ISU with 409.5 points.
Setter Morgan Brandt dished out 43 assists and now has 83 assists in her NCAA Tournament career, the fourth-most by any Cyclone in tournament play.
ISU hit just .186 in the match while playing without libero Brooke Stonestreet and right side hitter Lilly Wachholz, who missed the match due to injury.
This was ISU’s 17th NCAA Tournament appearance in school history and the 16th under the direction of Christy Johnson-Lynch.
The Rainbow Wahine jumped out to a quick 7-2 lead before a timeout was called by Johnson-Lynch. The timeout was just what the Cyclones needed as it propelled them to nine-straight points and an 11-7 lead before UH could score another point. The Cyclones extended the run to 15-1 and cruised to a 25-16 opening set victory and a 1-0 lead.
The Cyclones hit .480 in the opening frame and had four service aces as a team, including three from Duckworth.
Iowa State scored the first three points in set two and held Hawaii at arm’s length throughout the first half of the set until the Rainbow Wahine were able to close the Cyclone lead to just one at 21-20, forcing a timeout. The Wahine kept rolling and went on top 22-21, but Gonzalez and Engelbrecht stopped the 5-0 run with a block. Hawaii would extend the lead back to two (24-22) before the Cyclones fought off a pair of set points. Ultimately, the Cyclones dropped the set on a service ace by Talia Edmonds, evening the match 1-1.
Hawaii controlled the net in the second set, notching five blocks and holding the Cyclones to a .000 hitting percentage on its way to the 26-24 win.
The Cyclones never led in the third set as Hawaii hit .533 on its way to a 25-18 set win and a 2-1 lead in the match. The Wahine had 16 kills and no errors on 30 attacks in the frame, while ISU hit just .179 as a team. An Annie Hatch kill trimmed the deficit to 16-13, but UH closed it out with a 9-5 run.
What appeared to be a pivotal replay put Hawaii up 13-11, but the Cyclones took it in stride and rattled off the next five points to gain control of the set and go ahead 16-13. Hawaii quickly rallied back and knotted it up at 18-18. The set went back-and-forth the rest of the way until Hawaii was able to gain some separation and eventually won the match on Iowa State’s eighth service error of the match.