HONOLULU – The University of Hawai’i men’s volleyball team kept its Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Tournament hopes alive with a straight-set victory over No. 2 Brigham Young, Saturday night, in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation rematch at the Stan Sheriff Center. Set scores were 37-35, 25-20, 25-19.
The Rainbow Warriors (15-10, 13-9 MPSF) swept the two-match series with the Cougars for the first time since 2010 and moved into a three-way tie for sixth place in the MPSF standings. BYU entered the weekend with just two league losses and needed to win one match to capture the outright MPSF regular season championship.
UH won in front of the largest crowd of the season of 4,493 and pulled out an epic first set (37-35), which was the longest in school history since rally-scoring switched to 25-point sets. The win was extra special for seniors Aniefre Etim-Thomas, Jace Olsen, Joby Ramos, Johann Timmer, and Nick West, who were honored during the traditional Senior Night ceremony at the conclusion of the match.
Hawai’i played its absolute best volleyball over the two nights. After dropping the first two sets to the Cougars on Friday, the Warriors took the next six sets over a team who came into the match having won their last six matches and 12 of 13.
The ‘Bows finished the match with a .419 hitting percentage, including a blistering .491 combined in the final two sets. Sophomore outside hitter Sinisa Zarkovic finished with a match-high 22 kills on .410 hitting while junior opposite Brook Sedore added 11 kills and two service aces.
Seniors Olsen and West each tallied nine kills while Ramos dished out 50 assists and had nine digs.
The first set showcased the best of college volleyball in front a frenzied crowd. The teams went back-and-forth with each erasing a number of set points against them. Finally on UH’s ninth set point, West ended it with his fourth kill giving the Warriors the marathon victory.
The set lasted 41 minutes and featured 88 combined kill attempts between the teams. It was also the longest set in the MPSF since BYU and UC Davis played to the same score in 2012.
UH carried that momentum into the second set, taking an early 6-3 lead. The ‘Bows maintained the advantage and scored four straight, including back-to-back blocks of Taylor Sander and Devin Young to make it 19-12. BYU closed to within three but the Warriors finished off the set with a kill by Zarkovic and an attack error by Tim Dobbert.
The Warriors jumped all over the Cougars in Set 3, taking a 12-7 lead. UH was never threatened thereafter and closed out the match with Zarkovic’s 22nd and final kill.
Sander led the Cougars (18-6, 18-4) with 17 kills.
The Warriors wrap up the regular season with a two-match MPSF series at Pepperdine, April 11 and 12 in Malibu, Calif.
*Courtesy of Hawai’i Athletics*