HONOLULU – The University of Hawai’i men’s volleyball team advanced in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Tournament with a straight-set win over Pepperdine in the quarterfinal round Saturday at the Stan Sheriff Center. A season-high crowd of 6,691 witnessed the 25-23, 25-20, 25-15 victory.
The third-seeded Rainbow Warriors (25-4) move on to the semifinals where they will meet second-seeded BYU, a straight-winner over Stanford. Top-seeded Long Beach State will host the semis and finals, April 20 & 22 at The Walter Pyramid.
UH, which extended its home win streak to 22, including a perfect 18-0 this season, is now 3-0 all-time versus Pepperdine in the MPSF quarterfinals. Hawai’i advances to the semifinals for the second time in three years and third time under head coach Charlie Wade, who improved to 10-0 versus the Waves in Honolulu.
Sixth-seeded Pepperdine (10-12) was led by David Wieczorek’s nine kills.
Senior outside hitter Kupono Fey and sophomore opposite Stijn van Tilburg each tallied 14 kills to lead the Warriors. van Tilburg also posted a career-high 10 digs for his first career double-double and hit .619 along with five blocks and two aces. Fey also added a pair of aces with eight digs and a career-high six blocks.
As a team, Hawai’i accumulated a season-high 17.5 total blocks led by freshman middle blocker Patrick Gasman‘s career-high eight stuffs. Fellow middle Hendrik Mol added five blocks along with six kills and two aces. UH hit .344 compared to .095 for the Waves.
After Pepperdine tied the score at 12 with a block solo on Patrick Gasman in Set 1, the Warriors reeled off three straight for a 15-12 lead at the media timeout, capped by an ace by Fey. UH maintained its cushion the rest of the way as the teams traded point for point. The Warriors ended it with a double-block by Mol and van Tilburg. Hawai’i hit .385 led by six kills each by Fey and van Tilburg.
UH jumped out to a 14-5 lead in Set 2 behind a trio of four-point spurts. By the media timeout, the Warriors held a 15-5 advantage and had four team blocks while hitting .500. Hawai’i led 22-12 before the Waves mounted a comeback to within 23-19 with two aces and three Warrior hitting errors during a 7-1 run. But UH closed out the set with Fey’s 10th kill.
The Warriors used a 6-1 run to take a 14-10 lead in Set 3. UH pushed its lead to 19-12 after scoring four unanswered including an ace by van Tilburg. Hawai’i blew it wide open with three straight blocks for a 23-13 and Fey closed out the match with a shot down the middle.