The University of Hawai'i men's volleyball team was dealt another tough loss by No. 1 Long Beach State, Friday, in a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation rematch at the Stan Sheriff Center. Set scores were 25-14, 25-20, 25-19.
The Rainbow Warriors (10-7, 5-7 MPSF) have now lost six of their last seven matches and three straight at home, which included a four-set defeat to the same LBSU squad on Wednesday. The 49ers (15-2, 12-2) extended their win streak to nine straight.
UH outside hitters Sinisa Zarkovic and Kupono Fey and opposite Stijn van Tilburg each recorded eight kills for the Warriors, the first time a UH player did not reach double figures this season. van Tilburg also recorded two of the team's three aces, five digs, and four blocks. Zarkovic added one ace, five digs, and three blocks.
LBSU's Kyle Ensing tallied a match-high 13 kills on .579 hitting while freshman outside hitter TJ DeFalco added 11 kills, 15 digs, and five blocks. As a team the 49ers hit .385 compared to .162 for the Warriors. LBSU also posted 11.0 team blocks compared to 6.5 for UH.
The Beach scored the first three points of Set 1 and never looked back. LBSU extended its lead to 15-9 midway through and cruised to a 25-14 victory. The Beach hit .500 compared to .138 for the Warriors.
UH jumped out to a 4-1 lead in Set 2 with a pair of blocks. The Beach used five unanswered for an 8-6 advantage. The 49ers scored another four straight for a 15-10 lead at the media timeout. The Warriors closed within 17-16 after a four-point run which included a pair of van Tilburg aces but the Beach was too much, out-scoring UH 7-3 down the stretch to take it 25-20.
For the second straight match, UH head coach Charlie Wade tinkered with his lineup in the third set. Middle blocker Dalton Solbrig and regular starter Jennings Franciskovic entered the match and provided somewhat of a spark. UH again took the early lead before the Beach stormed back with a 6-1 run for an 8-5 lead. LBSU bunched together three more points, including two DeFalco kills for a 13-9 lead and the Warriors would not threaten the rest of the way.
It doesn't get any easier for the Warriors next week as they host a two-match series with No. 2 BYU, Wednesday, March 2 and Friday, March 4. Match time is 7:00 p.m., each night.
Hawaii Athletics Release
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