HONOLULU - The No. 7 University of Hawai'i men's volleyball team defeated No. 14 Cal State Northridge, 23-25, 25-20, 25-17, 25-22 Sunday night at the Stan Sheriff Center, sweeping the two-game series. The Rainbow Warriors advance to an 11-3, 8-2 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation record.
Senior Brook Sedore led the Warriors with a season-high 24 kills, five digs, and three assists. Meanwhile, middle-blocker Taylor Averill added 17 kills to match his career-high, hitting at .714 with just two errors in 21 swings. Back-up setter Alex Jones also stepped up for the 'Bows, tallying a career-best 42 assists and 11 digs.
In a team-effort, Kyle Stevenson, Sam Holt, Greg Faulkner, and Josiah Byers each recorded 10 kills apiece for CSUN (5-10, 3-8 MPSF).
The Matadors opened Set 1 with an explosive 15-8 lead, but once they hit the 20-point mark, UH tightened up with junior Sinisa Zarkovic (10 kills, six digs, two blocks) stepping back on the floor after sitting out for six straight matches. The Rainbow Warriors exploded for a 9-4 run, with Zarkovic tying it 23-23, but the CSUN held them off in the end, capping the set 25-23.
The 'Bows remained two steps ahead of CSUN for most of Set 2, the Matadors tied it 13-13 but were unable to pull ahead as UH rode a 10-6 lead to win it 25-20. The Warriors outhit CSUN .346 (12-3-26) to .192 (12-7-26) in the set.
UH pulled away from CSUN following a fiery 8-2 run, footing a commanding 15-7 lead midway through Set 3. The Matadors pulled off a three-point run once the 'Bows hit 20-points, and despite matching UH point-for-point to follow, senior Davis Holt (six kills, four blocks, one ace) swung one over to end it 25-17.
After the Warriors started Set 4 strong with an 8-2 lead, the Matadors dished out five unanswered points to bring themselves within one point, 8-7. CSUN remained close on the 'Bows trail, finally tying it 21-21 after rejecting Zarkovic's attempt with a triple-block. However, following a kill by Averill and a double-block by Holt and setter Jennings Franciskovic, UH gained a crucial two-point advantage. Faulkner was able to add on just one more point for the Matadors before Zarkovic finally finished them off 25-22 after a CSUN service error.
The Rainbow Warriors hit the road next week as they take on Long Beach State for another pair of conference matches, Feb. 27-28.