UH men's volleyball team eliminated from NCAA tournament - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

UH men's volleyball team eliminated from NCAA tournament

PALO ALTO, Calif. - The University of Hawai'i men's volleyball team (24-7, 18-4 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation) dropped the NCAA Play-In match to Penn State University, 22-25, 20-25, 25-17, 25-27, Tuesday night at Maples Pavilion, ultimately wrapping up an iconic 2015 season.

Senior Taylor Averill led the team in kills and finished the night with a .609 (15-1-23) hitting percentage, while junior Sinisa Zarkovic added 13. Meanwhile, PSU's Aaron Russell exploded for a match-high 20 kills for the Nittany Lions, with Nick Goodell following up with 19.

After falling short two sets into the match, UH came back to dominate the third set, takin the Nittany Lions to a fourth. In Set 4, both teams clashed with head-to-head intensity with 20 ties and eight lead changes throughout. In the final stretch, a PSU double-block gave the Nittany Lions their first match point opportunity, but Zarkovic instantly replied with a solo block, rejecting PSU's attack to tie it 24-24. Following yet another match-point opportunity by the Nittany Lions, Zarkovic tied it again with his final kill of the night for the Rainbow Warriors.  However, it was Russell's 20th kill of the night followed by a UH attacking error that ultimately ended it in the Nittany Lions' favor, 27-25.

Following a 12-4 run by the Nittany Lions in Set 1, UH fell to an eight point deficit, 17-9. The 'Bows rallied back late off of a 6-2 run fueled by two-straight triple-blocks, topped off with back-to-back kills by Zarkovic to bring themselves within just two points, 22-20. PSU responded with a 2-0 run to get to set point, 24-20, but

With a rocky start in Set 2, PSU pulled off a 4-0 run assisted by three-straight UH errors and gained an early 10-5 advantage. The 'Bows soon responded with their own 3-0 run and brought themselves within two points, 12-10 for a chance to recover, but were unable to pull ahead of the Nittany Lions as Russell ended the set, 25-20 with two-straight kills.

Midway through Set 3, UH broke away with three-straight points, Sedore dishing out a service ace to give the 'Bows a 16-11 lead. The Nittany Lions pushed back but the Warriors rode their momentum all the way until the end, ultimately pressuring PSU to commit two-straight errors for set point before Zarkovic hammered down UH's final kill for the win, 25-17. The 'Bows finished the set without committing a single hitting error at .696 percent (16-0-23).

Despite a tough loss, the Rainbow Warriors conclude a remarkable 2015 season for one of the most successful runs in program history. After starting at the bottom half of preseason polls, UH steadily rose to the top of both the AVCA Coaches Poll and the MPSF Standings and held onto a 16-match winning streak, the longest 2006. In the end, UH proved to be one of the nation's best teams with five earning AVCA All-American honors, earning an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament, the program's first appearance in 13 years.

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