(6) Rainbow Warriors sweep GCU, look toward MPSF play

Stijn Van Tilburg // Hawai'i Athletics

HONOLULU—The University of Hawai’i men’s volleyball team (5-0, 0-0 MPSF) overpowered Grand Canyon in a three-set sweep on Friday night, 25-16, 25-16, 25-20. Stijn van Tilburg led the Rainbow Warriors with 17 kills while Austin Mautautia added seven kills in front of 3,129 at the Stan Sheriff Center. Hawai’i is off to a 5-0 season start for the first time since 2003 en route to 24-6 campaign. The ‘Bows also raised their home win streak to nine-straight matches dating back to last season and have won 17-consecutive matches against non-MPSF teams dating back to 2014.

Van Tilburg hit for a season-high of .536 with just two errors on 28 attacks. He also notched two block assists and a dig on the night. Mautautia hit .385 on the night with just two errors in 13 swings. His two aces were a match-high and he posted four digs as well.

Jennings Franciskovic and Joe Worsley split the setting duties for the match with Franciskovic tallying 21 assists and Worsley recording 18. Larry Tuileta recorded a match-high eight digs.

Grand Canyon edged out the ‘Bows in blocks, 7.0-to-6.5, but Patrick Gasman rejected a match-high three blocks.  As a team, UH tallied an impressive 88% in sideouts in the first set (15-for-17) and for the match finished at 83%.

The Rainbow Warriors went on a 7-2 run in the middle of the frame and then pulled away to capture the first set, 25-16. Van Tilburg had five kills and Patrick Gasman had four kills on five swings to lead UH.

Hawai’i went up 2-0 after winning the second set, 25-16. The Rainbow Warriors jumped out to an early 4-0 lead with Franciskovic behind the service line and never looked back. The ‘Bows built their lead to as many as nine points late in the frame.

The third frame was tightly contested with both teams tying 11 times. But, with the score tied at 20-20, UH closed out the set winning the last five-straight points off a Brett Rosenmeier serving run.

The Rainbow Warriors will head to California to begin Mountain Pacific Sports Federation action in a pair of matches at Long Beach State on Jan. 18 and 20 plus a single match at UC Irvine on Jan. 21.

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