• BRUCE ASATO / [email protected]

    Hawaii coach Robyn Ah Mow-Santos talked to her team during the second set of the Kansas State match on Saturday.

Hurricane Lane wasn’t the problem on Saturday for Hawaii. It was the arm of Kansas State senior hitter Kylee Zumach wreaking havoc on the Rainbow Wahine.

The 6-foot-4 Zumach put down 19 kills as the visiting Wildcats needed just 103 minutes to walk out of the Stan Sheriff Center with a 25-21, 29-27, 25-20 sweep. It was the second time in three seasons that K-State (1-0) defeated Hawaii (0-1); prior to 2016, the Wildcats were 0-5 against the Wahine.

It also was the third consecutive season that Hawaii dropped its season opener, a program first.

Today’s 2 p.m. rematch is open to the public. Saturday’s contest, which wasn’t finalized until hours before the 7 p.m. start, was closed to all except family members due to weather-related concerns.

Hawaii’s concerns included rarely being in synch, with three new starters and an offense that used a two-setter system. Both setters — senior Faith Ma’afala (29 assists, 12 digs) and junior Norene Iosia (10 assists, 10 digs) — ended up with double-doubles.

Senior hitter McKenna Granato finished with a team-high 14 kills and senior hitter Casey Castillo added 11. Senior libero Tita Akiu, in her debut after transferring from Texas Tech, had 14 digs and Granato added a double-double with 11 digs.

“I’m not happy,” Hawaii coach Robyn Ah Mow-Santos said. “I think it could have gone a different way if everyone had done their job.

“The one big thing that needs to change is discipline. We need everyone who is on the court to do their job.”

K-State coach Suzie Fritz was pleased with the job her team did. Considering the Wildcats were 3-13 in Big 12 play last season, “this feels great,” she said. “From a preparation perspective, we tried to keep it pretty simple.”

Hawaii was chasing early, falling behind 5-1. The Wahine had no answer for Zumach, who had five kills in the opening 30 minutes.

Hawaii tied it twice, the last at 18, with the Wahine running a modified 6-2 offense with two setters in some rotations. K-State used a 4-1 run to take control at 22-19.

A kill by Granato helped Hawaii close to 22-21. But Granato then hit long, jump-starting K-State’s closing 3-0 spurt.

The teams traded stints with bad rotations, the Wildcats erasing the Wahine’s 6-2 lead with seven straight. Trailing 9-6, Granato put down four consecutive swings and Fritz burned both her timeouts while Hawaii went up 11-9.

The seesaw battle was on, with 11 ties and four lead changes down the stretch. The Wahine had two set points but failed to convert. At 27-27, Castillo’s service error gave the Wildcats what would be the last of three set points and Granato hit long to put K-State up 2-0.

Hawaii appeared headed to push it to four, with early leads at 9-5 and 12-10. The Wahine couldn’t hold on, with a net violation putting the Wildcats ahead for good at 16-15.

Hawaii outblocked K-State 6-2. Wildcat libero Devan Fairfield had a match-high 16 digs.

“We know things will be different (today) when Hawaii has its crowd,” Fritz added. “I think it will change the dynamic significantly.

“It was relatively quiet in here, so I think it will change significantly. It will create the home-court advantage Hawaii is notoriously known for. I think it’s part of the reason we came. We want to play a great team like Hawaii, we want to have an opportunity to be in a great environment.”


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