The University of Hawaii men's volleyball team fell to No. 8 UC Irvine, Sunday, in a five-set thriller to drop the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation rematch at the Stan Sheriff Center. Set scores were 25-20, 17-25, 25-15, 15-25, 18-16.
Coupled with Friday's four-set loss to the Anteaters, the Rainbow Warriors (11-8, 9-7 MPSF) were swept for the first time at home this season and fell from fifth to eighth in the MPSF standings following the series.
Unlike Friday's series opener in which UH collapsed in the final two sets, the Warriors fought back on Sunday after falling behind. Hawaii dropped Sets 1 and 3 but each time, they dominated the next set, including a 25-15 rout in Set 4 that forced a deciding fifth set.
In the race to 15, the Warriors led 12-10 after back-to-back UCI hitting errors. But the Anteaters responded with three straight and held match point at 14-13 after stuffing Olsen. On the next play, UCI's overpass went out and Zarkovic's kill in the deep corner gave UH the first of two match points at 15-14. With a swing for the match, Zarkovic was blocked but he followed that with his 19th kill of the match for a 16-15 lead.
With the crowd on its feet, Jeremy Dejno pounded the last of his 21 kills to tie the match and Connor Hughes found the Teraflex giving UCI its second match point. Zarkovc's kill attempt went long giving the Anteaters the match.
Dejno's 21 kills was a match-high and he also tallied 10 digs and two blocks. Zack La Cavera added 13 kills, six aces, and six blocks while Hughes finished with 11 kills and eight digs.
Zarkovic led the Warriors with 19 kills on .378 hitting and six blocks. Brook Sedore tallied 17 kills.
The Anteaters jumped all over Hawai'i during the middle of Set 1 with La Cavera ripping bullets at the service line. La Cavera blasted three of his six aces in the match during a six-point run that gave UCI an 18-11 lead. UCI hit .500 in the set.
The tide turned in Set 2 and with the help of four straight UCI hitting errors, during a 6-0 Hawai'i run. The 'Bows continued to pour it on and were never threatened in a 25-17 victory.
UCI took the early lead in Set 3 by scoring five straight points for a 10-5 lead. Moments later, the Anteaters strung together five more to push their lead to 17-9 and cruised to victory, hitting at a .556 clip.
But like Set 2, the Warriors came out strong in the fourth set, scoring 10 straight points with Jace Olsen at the service line to build a 10-1 lead. During that run, Zarkovic had four kills, including three straight and UH cruised to a 25-15 victory.
The 'Bows will next hit the road for a pair of MPSF series at Stanford (March 14-15) and Pacific (March 17-18).