HONOLULU - The No. 10 University of Hawai'i men's volleyball team defeated Stevens Institute of Technology in its season-opener, 25-19, 25-14, 25-23, Saturday night at the Stan Sheriff Center.
The Rainbow Warriors (1-0) had a nearly flawless night, committing just three hitting errors in 91 attempts. UH hit .407, with senior middle-blocker Taylor Averill leading the Rainbow Warriors with 13 kills in 21 swings and no errors. Averill also tallied five blocks, as UH out-blocked Stevens, 8 to 1.
Junior outside hitter Sinisa Zarkovic added nine kills and had one of UH's three service aces of the night. Sophomores Jennings Franciscovic and Kupono Fey both made their first career starts. Franciscovic dished out 31 assists and posted a team-high six digs along with two kills and three blocks. Fey finished with four kills, four digs, and one block.
Despite several lead changes throughout the match, UH finished strong in Sets 1 and 2, with scoring runs of seven and eight, respectively to end each game. In Set 1, UH's only hitting error gave the Ducks a 18-17 lead. The teams traded points until the Warriors scored back-to-back with a kill by Brook Sedore and a Stevens hitting error. Sedore closed out the set by serving six straight times and Averill ended it with consecutive kills.
In Set 2, the Ducks trailed 13-12 before UH went on a 12-2 run to close out the game and take a commanding 2-0 lead. UH emptied the bench in Set 3 with senior Ryan Leung, recording his first two kills as a Rainbow Warrior.
Ryan Seifert had a match-high 15 kills for Stevens (0-1).
The Rainbow Warriors will next host the 21st Outrigger Resorts Invitational, Jan. 8-9, 11. Competing along with UH are Penn State, Ohio State, and UC Irvine.