NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The fourth-ranked University of Hawai’i men’s volleyball team escaped with a four-set victory over Barton College Saturday in its opening match of The Off the Block Grow the Game Challenge at Lipscomb’s Allen Arena. Set scores were 25-16, 20-25, 25-17, 25-22.
In the first-ever meeting between the two 2018 NCAA Tournament teams, the Rainbow Warriors (4-0) needed a late Set 4 rally to avoid a fifth set. UH will next play a double-header Sunday to close out the tournament against Grand Canyon at 7:30 a.m. HT and Lincoln Memorial at 10:30 a.m. HT.
Outside hitter Austin Matautia came off the bench to lead UH with 13 kills, hitting .450, in three sets of action. Outside hitter Brett Rosenmeier added 12 kills and a career-high four aces along with four digs and four blocks while outside hitter Stijn van Tilburgadded eight kills on .583 hitting.
As a team, UH hit .301 with 13 team blocks and seven aces. Barton hit .193 and was led by Angelos Mandilaris’ 15 kills.
With Barton leading 22-19 late in Set 4, the Warriors reeled off the final six points of the match with middle blocker Patrick Gasman in on two of his six blocks.
Barton stuck around for the better part of Set 1 until a solo roof by Rosenmeier and a Barton hitting error gave the Warriors a 19-14 lead. Moments later a Rado Parapunov solo block put UH up by seven and UH finished off the set hitting .478 with four blocks.
In Set 2, UH committed five errors through its first 13 attempts as Barton led 10-9. The Warriors took the lead on a pair of Rosenmeier aces for a 13-10 lead but the Bulldogs tied it up at 15. Nick Leary’s ace and three straight kills by Vasilis Mandilaris gave Barton a 20-16 lead and the Bulldogs went on the close out the set on a 10-5 run.
Two aces – one each by Rosenmeier and Gasman – gave UH a 9-7 lead in Set 3. After Rosenmeier’s eighth kill, Matautia followed with his first ace of the match for a 16-12 lead. The Warriors made it 19-12 with three more points, ignited by a Rosenmier-Gasman double block. Matautia closed it out with his eighth kill of the set.
UH’s two matches on Sunday will be streamed on The Off the Block’s Facebook page (www.facebook.com/offtheblockvolleyball).