April 9, 2016 at 2:16 AM HST - Updated July 10 at 5:56 PM
HONOLULU – The University of Hawai'i men's volleyball team returned to its winning ways with a five-set victory over No. 14 California Baptist, Friday night in the opener of a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation series at the Stan Sheriff Center. Set scores were 25-21, 25-20, 25-27, 18-25, 15-9.
With the win, the Rainbow Warriors (15-11, 10-11 MPSF) guaranteed themselves a winning record for the third straight season and fifth time under head coach Charlie Wade. UH has already secured the No. 7 seed in next week's MPSF Tournament while CBU (14-15, 6-15) must win Saturday's rematch to earn the eighth and final spot in the field.
Senior outside hitter Sinisa Zarkovic led the Warrior attack with a career-high 29 kills, hitting .349 while junior outside hitter Kupono Fey added 16 kills. For Zarkovic, it marked his seventh 20-kill game of the season while Fey, who also tallied a career-high 13 digs, recorded his second career double-double. Middle blocker Hendrik Mol recorded seven blocks while senior libero Kolby Kanetake posted 12 digs.
Maui native Rocky DeLyon led the Lancers with 19 kills, hitting .405, while Roy Powell added 16 kills. CBU recorded 20.5 team blocks led by Enrique de Diego Garcia's nine stuffs. Kamehameha-Hawai'i graduate Emmett Enriques tallied 17 digs.
After a back-and-forth start to Set 1, the Warriors surged to an 18-15 lead with four unanswered, which included a pair of Fey kills. The Lancers closed to within 19-18 before the Warriors widened their lead to three following kills by Frank and van Tilburg. UH sided-out the rest of the way for a 25-21 victory.
With the score tied at 10-10 in Set 2, UH extended its lead to 19-13 using a 9-3 run, including five-straight with Fey at the service line. The Warriors finished with five blocks during the set while limiting the Lancers to -.074 hitting en route to the 25-20 win.
With a tinkered lineup in Set 3, the Lancers jumped out to an early three-point lead and maintained the advantage until the Warriors reeled off five straight, capped by a pair of Zarkovic kills for an 18-16 lead. UH continued to hold its lead until the Lancers tied it at 24 after a block on Fey. After Zarkovic's 19th kill, CBU erased a third match point and after consecutive kills by Roy Powell, the Lancers stuffed Zarkovic on set point to steal the set to force a fourth set.
CBU jumped out to a 5-1 and 8-3 leads in Set 4. The Lancers led 15-9 before the Warriors mounted a comeback sparked by Fey's back-to-back aces. UH trimmed the deficit to one at 16-15 before the Lancers answered with four straight to seize control of the set but not before Zarkovic posted his career-best 26th kill on a thunderous slam late in the set.
With the score tied at 5-5 in Set 5, Hawai'i reeled off seven straight points – three by Zarkovic kills and two by Frank blocks – to put away the match.
The teams conclude the regular season Saturday. Following the match, Zarkovic, libero Kolby Kanetake, and Brandon Hiehle will be honored during the traditional Senior Night ceremony.