HONOLULU – The University of Hawai’i men’s volleyball team rallied for a five-set victory over No. 3 UCLA Saturday night at the Stan Sheriff Center and in the process swept the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation series. Set scores were 22-25, 25-18, 24-26, 25-16, 15-11
The 11th-ranked Rainbow Warriors (11-6, 9-5 MPSF) took both ends of the regular season MPSF series for the first time since 2006 and did so with a dominant effort on the offensive end. UH hit .404 for the match, an incredible percentage for a five-set match.
For the second straight night, junior opposite Brook Sedore led the way with a match-high 22 kills on .400 hitting. In the series, he combined for 46 kills, hitting at a .427 clip and averaging 5.11 kills per set, which will certainly put him in contention for national and conference player of the week honors.
Sophomore outside hitter Sinisa Zarkovic added 13 kills and three aces, including one that gave UH aloha ball in the fifth set. Junior middle blocker Taylor Averill had 10 kills on .615 hitting while fellow middle Nick West tied his career-high with eight blocks along with six kills.
The Bruins (13-5, 10-4) hit .246 as a team and featured three players in double figures, led by Robart Page’s 16 kills. Gonzalo Quiroga added 15 kills while freshman Michael Fisher, a Hawai’i Baptist Academy graduate, chipped in with 13.
One night after a four-set win in which the Warriors took a 2-0 lead, UH fell behind early in Set 1 before finally catching the Bruins at 14-all. UCLA extended its lead to 21-17 after back-to-back Hawai’i hitting errors and held off a late UH rally to take the set 25-22.
In Set 2, the ‘Bows jumped out to a 15-10 lead after consecutive UCLA hitting errors and were never threatened in the 25-18 rout.
The Bruins led for much of Set 3 until West and Zarkovic teamed up to block Quiroga to tie the score at 21. Moments later, Zarkovic came up with a big kill giving the Warriors set point at 24-23. But UCLA responded with three straight points, including Averill’s hitting error on set point, to take a 2-1 lead in the match.
It was all Hawai’i in Set 4, as the Warriors stormed out to a 9-3 lead. UH cruised to a 25-16 victory and hit .636 with two of its six aces in the frame.
In the fifth and decisive set, UCLA led early before the Warriors scored three straight to tie it at 6. A West-Ramos double-block gave UH its first lead at 10-9. The teams traded side-outs until Page hit into the net giving the Warriors a two-point cushion. Following a UCLA timeout, Zarkovic blasted his third ace of the match setting up match point and Sedore tooled the block to close out the match.
Hawai’i will next host defending NCAA champion UC Irvine for a two-match series Friday, March 7 and Sunday, March 9.
*Courtesy of Hawai’i Athletics*