HONOLULU - The No. 10 University of Hawai'i men's volleyball team fell to No. 8 UC Irvine in three sets, 27-25, 25-21, 25-19, Sunday night at the Stan Sheriff Center. The Anteaters, who went undefeated all three nights, were named the 21st Outrigger Resorts Invitational Champions.
UCI's Tamir Hershko earned the Outrigger's Most Outstanding Player honor, after netting a game-high 17 kills with an outstanding .696 hitting percentage. Junior outside hitter Sinisa Zarkovic and senior opposite Brooke Sedore were also selected to the all-tournament team after leading the 'Bows with 13 and eight kills, respectively.
Scoring was tight in the start of Set 1, as the 'Eaters (3-1, 0-0 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation) matched the 'Bows (3-1, 0-0 MPSF) point-for-point at every turn with both teams hitting without error. It was UH's first error of the night that gave UCI a 15-11 lead after the Anteaters pounded out three kills in a row. The Warriors trailed behind UCI until Sedore's fourth kill tied it 21-21. UH went on to tie it four more times to follow before a service ace by the Anteaters ended it 27-25.
UH started off Set 2 rallying back-and-forth with UCI, and took the lead 7-5 after senior Taylor Averill served two aces in a row. However, the 'Eaters were quick to respond, scoring five unanswered points for a commanding 12-5 lead. The 'Bows brought themselves within two after a UCI attack-error, but couldn't catch up with the Anteaters, who outscored UH 6-5 to win the set 25-21.
UCI jumped out to a 12-6 lead at the start of Set 3, set off by Kyle Russell, who dished out three kills during the run. The Anteaters held on strong until the end, winning the set by a six-point margin.
Also selected to the all-tournament team were UCI's Zack La Cavera (10 kills) and Michael Saeta (41 assists), Ohio State's Michael Henchy and Penn State's Aaron Russell.
The 'Bows continue their six-game home-stand next week, as they open conference play against UC Santa Barbara, Jan. 16 and Jan. 18 at the Stan Sheriff Center.