March 31, 2012 at 2:02 AM HST - Updated June 26 at 4:03 PM
HONOLULU – The University of Hawai'i men's volleyball team's postseason hopes took another step backwards with a straight-set loss to No. 9 Long Beach State in the first of two Mountain Pacific Sports Federation matches at the Stan Sheriff Center. Set scores were 25-19, 25-22, 25-21.
The 14th-ranked Warriors (7-17, 4-15 MPSF) lost for the 12th time in their last 13 contests and need to win their final three regular season matches for any hope of finishing among the top eight teams to qualify for the MPSF Tournament.
As has been the case in recent weeks, the Warriors faltered down the stretch in the early going. LBSU (12-12, 7-10) moved into a tie for sixth place in the MPSF standings with the win.
Playing in his final home series, outside hitter Steven Hunt led the Warriors with 18 kills. Sophomore opposite Harrison Carroll added 12 kills and eight digs. No other Warrior had more than three kills.
For the Beach, Srdjan Nadazdin led the way with 11 klls while Ryan Meehan had eight kills and six blocks. As a team, the 49ers out-hit the Warriors, .326 to .179.
In Set 1, the Beach took a 15-12 lead after stringing together three straight points. Moments later, the 49ers pushed their lead to 20-16 following a setting error by Sam Biscaro. Fueled by two big blocks down the stretch, LBSU went on to win 25-19.
Leading 15-14 at the media timeout in Set 2, the Warriors allowed the Beach to score the next three points, after successive errors by Carroll, for a 17-15 lead. UH tied it at 17, before surrendering four more to the 49ers, which included back-to-back errors by Brook Sedore. The Warriors rallied to within 23-22 after consecutive kills by Hunt but the Beach ended it with a kill by Nadazdin and a lucky free ball shot by Brad Hemmerling which trickled over the tape.
The Beach got off to a 6-1 lead to start Set 3 and extended it to 11-3. The Warriors rallied all the way back to within 17-16, which included a wild rally capped by a Hunt kill. Nadazdin answered with back-to-back kills and the Beach pushed their lead to 21-17 and sided-out to win the match.
The teams play again Saturday. First serve is 7:00 p.m. at the Stan Sheriff Center.