LOS ANGELES, Calif. – The fourth-ranked University of Hawai'i men's volleyball team closed out the regular season with a marathon four-set victory over No. 6 UCLA Saturday at the Wooden Center. Set scores in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation match-up were 41-39, 25-23, 18-25, 25-22.
The Rainbow Warriors (24-4, 14-4 MPSF) have now won five straight regular season matches over the Bruins in Los Angeles dating back to 2013. UH enters next week's MPSF Tournament as the No. 3 seed and will host sixth-seeded Pepperdine in a quarterfinal round match at the Stan Sheriff Center, Saturday, April 15.
Senior outside hitter Kupono Fey and freshman opposite Rado Parapunov each tallied 11 kills to lead the Warriors. Fey also totaled 10 digs for his first double-double of the season and third of his career. Setter Jennings Franciskovic came within a block of a triple-double, finishing with 34 assists, 11 digs, and nine blocks.
As a team, UH posted a season-high 17 team blocks with middle blockers Patrick Gasman (7) and Hendrik Mol (6) combining for 13. Mol also had three of the Warriors' seven aces on the night.
UCLA (17-9, 10-8) was led by Jake Arnitz's 14 kills while Eric Sprague added 11 kills and eight blocks. The Bruins committed 31 service errors in the match compared to 12 for the Warriors and hit .287 for the match.
In a marathon first set that lasted 49 minutes, the Warriors erased 12 set points and managed to steal the opening frame on their fifth set point as Mol put away the overpass. UH benefitted by 15 service errors by the Bruins and were out-hit .356 to .217. HBA graduate Michael Fisher got the start for the Bruins and tallied 10 kills in the set.
In Set 2, the Warriors' big block came alive. UH scored six unanswered, sparked by a pair of aces by Mol and two Franciskovic blocks, for a 9-3 lead. The Bruins rallied to within one at 13-12 and tied it at 21 after Parapunov was ruled in the net. The score was tied twice more before the Warriors closed out the set with triple block on Dylan Missry and Eric Sprague's hitting error.
The Bruins scored the first six points of Set 3 as UH shuffled its lineup. The Warriors closed to within one at 10-9 before UCLA extended its lead to 15-11 after a three-point run. UH would not threaten the rest of the way as the Bruins cruised to a 25-18 victory.
In Set 4, the Warriors used a 6-3 run for a 16-13 advantage. The Bruins tied it at 20-20 after van Tilburg crossed the 3-meter line on his attack. But UCLA's serving woes continued with two more errors and a Fey-Mol double-block that put UH on top 23-21. Another Bruin service error gave UH set point and van Tilburg and Mol stuffed Micah Ma'a to end the match.
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