LOS ANGELES, Calif. – The No. 1 University of Hawai’i men’s volleyball team defeated No. 12 UCLA, 25-13, 25-18, 25-18 Tuesday night at Pauley Pavilion marking UH’s first two-match sweep on the Bruins’ home-court since 2003. The Rainbow Warriors advance to a 21-3, 16-2 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation record extending a 14-match winning streak.
The Warriors wrap-up their longest road-stretch of the season with a clinched MPSF Tournament bid. UH dominated all three sets, ending the night with just five hitting errors total at .465 percent (38-5-71). Junior Sinisa Zarkovic and senior Brook Sedore led the ‘Bows with 10 kills and five blocks apiece, marking Sedore’s 14th match with double-digit kills and Zarkovic’s 11th. Zarkovic had a remarkable hitting night, earning his 10 kills without error in 18 swings on a career-high .556 hitting percentage. Middle-blocker Davis Holt led a solid defense with a career-high nine of UH’s blocks. Meanwhile, UCLA’s Jake Arnitz hit a team-high seven kills.
UH broke away for an early 9-3 lead in Set 1 after forcing the Bruins to a timeout with Kupono Fey‘s (seven kills) second kill of the night topping off a three-point run. Following the regroup, UCLA’s Mitch Stahl stepped up to single-handedly match the ‘Bows point-for-point with two kills a row and a block but quickly lost momentum after committing a service error. Fey immediately followed up with a service ace, gaining a commanding 13-9 lead. From there, the ‘Bows never looked back, limiting the Bruins’ to just four more points to follow as they soared to a 25-13 win.
After footing a staggering 16-10 lead midway through Set 2, UH fell back allowing the Bruins’ to pull off 5-1 run to bring themselves within just a two-point margin, 17-15. However, after another UCLA service error, UH tightened up and quickly took control with an 8-3 run to the end, with Taylor Averill (eight kills, two blocks) hammering down the set-point kill.
UCLA remained neck-and-neck with the Warriors through the start of Set 3 with UH holding on tight to a 14-13 lead. It wasn’t long, however, before Zarkovic dished out back-to-back kills followed by a service ace to regain UH’s momentum. The ‘Bows crushed any chance of a comeback for UCLA, finishing off the match on a 5-1 run with Holt rejecting a Bruin attack for his ninth kill with Jennings Franciskovic (29 assists, two blocks) to end it 25-18.
The Rainbow Warriors return to the Stan Sheriff Center for their regular-season home finale against Stanford, April 10-11. Seven of UH’s seniors will be honored following Saturday’s match.