MALIBU, Calif. – The University of Hawai’i men’s volleyball team saw its season come to an end following a four-set loss to No. 2 Pepperdine, Saturday night, in a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation rematch at Firestone Fieldhouse. Set scores were 19-25, 28-26, 25-18, 26-24.
The Rainbow Warriors (15-12, 13-11 MPSF) needed a win coupled with a UCLA loss to earn the eighth and final spot in the MPSF Tournament. However, as UH trailed 2-1 in the fourth set, the Bruins put the finishing touches on a four-set upset victory over BYU to claim the final spot.
UH wrapped up the season by losing two straight to the Waves, who claimed a share of the MPSF regular season title and the No. 2 seed in the MPSF Tournament. The Warriors entered the series controlling their own destiny and would have qualified for the tourney with a pair of wins. Instead, UH will miss the Championships for the second time in three seasons.
Sophomore outside hitter Sinisa Zarkovic rebounded from a four-kill performance on Friday with a match-high 18 kills on .448 hitting. Opposite Brook Sedore and middle blocker Taylor Averill each tallied 12 kills and two kills. Middle blocker Nick West posted six kills and seven blocks while libero Kolby Kanetake had a match-high 11 digs for the second straight night.
Josh Taylor, a Punahou School graduate, paced the Waves (18-6, 18-6) with 18 kills while J.J. Mosolf and Kyle Gerrans each had 12.
Unlike Friday’s straight-set loss, the Warriors rallied from an early deficit and scored four straight, including a pair of Sedore aces, for a 19-16 lead. Moments later an ace by Averill gave UH a 23-19 lead and the ‘Bows closed out the set with a Sedore and West double-block. The Warriors tallied four of their six aces in the set.
The momentum carried over in Set 2 as Hawai’i led 5-1. The Warriors maintained the lead for much of the game until the Waves scored four straight for a 23-21 lead. UH then rallied to tie it at 23 and fended off three set points while having one of its own at 26-25 following an ace by Zarkovic. But the Waves scored the final three points of the set, including back-to-back kills by Gerrans to end it.
Pepperdine broke open Set 3 with three straight points for a 15-11 lead. The Waves extended their lead to 20-14 after stuffing Zarkovic, one of their five blocks in the set, and closed the game 25-18.
The teams went back and forth in Set 4 as the game was tied 14 times. At 23-all, Gerrans and Matt Tarantino teamed up to block Zarkovic for match point but sophomore responded with a cross-court kill to tie it at 24. With a swing for set point, Sedore hit long and Taylor ended it with his 18th kill.
*Courtesy of Hawai’i Athletics*