No. 11 Hawaii takes down third-ranked UCLA in four-set series opener
HONOLULU – Hawaii played perhaps its best match of the season in a four-set upset of No. 3 UCLon Friday in the first of two Mountain Pacific Sports Federation matches at the Stan Sheriff Center. Set scores were 25-23, 26-24, 25-27, 25-22.
The 11th-ranked Rainbow Warriors (10-6, 8-5 MPSF) put together a brilliant performance for their fourth victory against the Bruins in the past five meetings dating back to last season. UH hit .346 for the match and out-played UCLA in nearly every phase of the match.
Junior opposite Brook Sedore matched his season-high with 24 kills, hitting a blistering .452 and his only ace closed out set two, giving the 'Bows a 2-0 advantage. Outside hitter Sinisa Zarkovic added 15 kills and eight digs while middle blocker Taylor Averill posted 12 kills on .476 hitting and a team-high six blocks.
The Bruins (13-4, 10-3) were led by Gonzalo Quiroga's 19 kills while Robart Page added 17. UCLA hit .309 as a team.
The Warriors trailed for the better part of set one before taking a two-point lead at 20-18 following consecutive kills by Sedore and Zarkovic. The Bruins regained the advantage at 23-22 with a three-point run before UH strung three of their own to close out the set including back-to-back kills by Zarkovic to end it.
In the second set, UH maintained the lead throughout until UCLA fended off two set points to tie it at 24. But Sedore came up big with his 13th kill and finished off the Bruins with a blistering ace.
UCLA got back in the match, stealing set three after the Warriors led early 12-7. An ace by Hagen Smith, which clipped the net and rolled over, gave the Bruins set point but the 'Bows responded with a Zarkovic kill and an ace by West. The Bruins erased match point with a kill by Spence Rowe and after another kill by Page, Zarkovic hit long.
The fourth set went back-and-forth until an ace by Timmer put UH ahead 23-21. Rowe's kill closed the deficit to one but Jackson Bantle hit long setting up match point. The Bruins went to Page again but he hit into a big triple block, starting a wild UH celebration.