UH volleyball falls at No. 8 USC

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The University of Hawai'i men's volleyball team fell to No. 8 USC for the second time in three nights, Saturday, in a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation match at the Galen Center. Set scores were 25-22, 25-20, 25-18.

The Rainbow Warriors (9-6, 7-5 MPSF) could not find an answer all night as the Trojans hit .378 for the match and recorded 11.5 team blocks. UH head coach Charlie Wade tried different lineup combinations to no avail.

Outside hitter Sinisa Zarkovic led the 'Bows with 11 kills. Middle blocker Taylor Averill was perfect on his first eight kill attempts and finished with a .545 percentage. Opposite Brook Sedore finished with six kills.

Tanner Jansen led the Trojans (9-5, 8-5) with a match-high 13 kills. Middle blockers Tommy Leonard (8) and Andy Benesh (7) combined for 15 kills in 20 attempts with only one error.

The Trojans gained separation late in Set 1 with a three-point spurt including back-to-back kills by Micah Christenson and Lucas Yoder for a 22-18 lead. UH pulled to within two at 23-21 but the Trojans sided-out to claim the early advantage in the match.

After a kill by Averill pulled the Warriors to within 18-16 in Set 2, the Trojans scored five of the next six points for a 23-17 lead. Included in that run, Hawai'i was ruled out of rotation, which negated a block that would have pulled UH to within two.

USC scored four straight in Set 3 for an 8-4 lead. The Trojans maintained a sizeable advantage until the Warriors scored three straight to close within 19-17. But that would be as close as they would get as USC scored the final five points to take the set.

The Warriors will next host UCLA, Friday, Feb. 28 and Saturday, March 1 at the Stan Sheriff Center. Match time is 7:00 p.m. both nights.