HONOLULU - The UC San Diego men’s volleyball team lost in straight sets to 10th-ranked University of Hawai’i in Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) action at the Stan Sheriff Center on Sunday night. Scores were 25-14, 25-16, 25-22.
UCSD (0-7, 0-6 MPSF) had also been swept by the Rainbow Warriors (5-2, 3-1 MPSF) in the first meeting between the sides on Friday.
UH went up by scores of 8-3, 15-6 and 20-9 going into the three breaks in the opening set. The home side had 13 kills on .524 (13-2-21) hitting, with all 13 kills assisted by setter Joby Ramos, in the first frame. UCSD committed six service errors.
A four-point run gave the Rainbow Warriors a 7-2 cushion early in game two as the Tritons called their first timeout. That stretch grew to 6-0, with three points coming from UCSD errors, with another 4-0 sequence making it 13-3 in favor of Hawai’i. Later, it was 21-11 on a triple block by Iain McKellar, Sinisa Zarkovic and Davis Holt. Within moments, Zarkovic, Holt and Brook Sedore combined on another triple stuff.
UCSD took its first lead of the night with the first point of the third set. Deadlocked at 4-4, the Tritons tallied the next two points on a Zarkovic attack error and a kill by senior outside hitter Nick Iorfino. Up 11-9 following a Ganesh Elie kill, UCSD surrendered the next three points and used its first timeout.
A tight final set that saw seven lead changes and 11 tie scores ultimately went to the Rainbow Warriors. Knotted one last time at 17-17, UH nabbed the next two points on a Taylor Averill kill and a Ramos ace. The Tritons got back to within one on four occasions, but Hawai’i finally reached match point at 24-22 on a third triple block, this one by Ramos, Averill and Jace Olsen. Zarkovic’s kill from Averill’s set ended it.
Iorfino led the Tritons with a match-high 12 kills and seven digs. Redshirt sophomore Eric Barber drew his first collegiate start at the other outside hitter spot. Elie contributed a career-best five kills and team-high two blocks in his second start. Senior Mike Brunsting (Poway/Francis Parker School) began the contest at setter before moving to a hitting position, finishing with 11 assists, seven kills and two digs.
Zarkovic produced a team-high 11 kills for UH. Averill joined him in double figures with 10 kills at an impressive .769 (10-0-13) attack rate without an error. Ramos had 34 assists. Holt wound up with seven kills and eight total blocks to lead all players. Olsen added seven kills of his own and a match-high eight digs.
The Tritons are scheduled to arrive back in San Diego early Monday morning. They will then await No. 3 UCLA for just their second home match thus far of the 2014 season, this Thursday night, Jan. 30. First serve at RIMAC Arena is set for 7 p.m.