Sept. 21, 2012
#7 Rainbow Wahine 3 – Highlanders 0

The UC Riverside women’s volleyball team dropped a 3-0 decision at the SRC Arena losing all three sets against the No. 7 ranked University of Hawai’i, the Highlanders’ new Big West division opponent. Hawai’i took 25-17, 25-16 and 25-19, putting up huge rallies in each set to pull away from the Highlanders. UCR put up a good fight in the early stages of each set, but they did not come close to pulling off an upset.

In the first set, Hawai’i got off to a quick start with a 5-0 lead. The Highlanders came back strong taking the lead 8-7, thanks to three straight errors by Hawai’i. The Highlanders’ one point lead was short lived as Hawai’i responded with a five point rally to take a four point lead, 12-8. The Highlanders were not deterred and closed the gap to just one point from tying the set at 16-15 thanks to kills by Annishia McKoy and Amanda Vialpando. Hawai’i went on a  9-2 run, closing out the score 25-17.

The second set was dominated by Hawai’i as they swiftly won 25-16. In the third set, the Highlanders got off to a very good start, taking an early 6-3 lead. The Highlanders maintained their lead and was ahead 9-5, when Hawai’i called a timeout. The timeout proved valuable to Hawai’i as they pulled off a dominating 14-1 run, giving them a 19-10 lead and ultimately the set.

The Highlanders were led by the duo of Vialpando who had 11 kills and McKoy who had a hit percentage of .583. Jane Croson of Hawai’i had 13 kills in the game, helping her team dominate UCR in what turn out to be Hawaii’s second shortest game of the season. The Highlanders fell to 5-9 overall and 0-1 in Big West, while Hawai’i improved 9-2 overall and 2-0 in Big West.

Sept. 22, 2012
Matadors 3 – Highlanders 2

The UCR women’s volleyball team faced the CSU Northridge Matadors at the SRC Arena. The game was a tight one, as it went to five sets, with the Matadors claiming victory. The first set went to the Matadors 26-24. The Highlanders responded winning sets two and three. The Matadors forced a fifth set and a comeback victory, by winning the fourth set 26-24.

In the first set, the Matadors looked as though they would easily win the set as they led 18-12. However, UC Riverside outscored the Matadors 9-2 in the late frame to take a 21-20 lead. With the score 24-22 in the Highlander’s favor, the Matadors won the set scoring four straight points 26-24.

In the second set, the Highlanders responded well taking a 17-10 lead. The Matadors attempted another comeback as they cut the Highlander lead to three at one point. The Highlanders held on to take set two 25-20 and tied the game.

The third set was contested very tightly by both teams as they were knotted up 15 times, including the most critical point of the set where the scoreboard read 27-27 set point. The Highlanders were able to score two straight points to break the tie. Amanda Vialpando got the kill to make it 28-27 and the Highlanders went on to win the third set 29-27.

The Highlanders looked to close out the game in the fourth set, however Matadors refused to go easy. The Highlanders looked as if they had the set locked up leading 23-18. However, the Matadors scored six straight points to take the lead 24-23 and eventually winning the set 26-24.

In the fifth set, the Highlander went up 3-1 early, but they were unable to get an advantage on the Matadors, who cruised to a 15-10 win, to complete their comeback.

The Highlanders were led by Cox who had 21 kills and Emily Borges who had an impressive 25 digs. The Highlanders fell to 5-10 overall, and 0-2 in Big West. The Highlanders will hit the road next to take on UC Davis on Sept. 28 and Pacific on Sept. 29.