Third-ranked UCLA dropped a hard-fought decision against No. 11 Hawai’i in an MPSF match played on Friday night in Honolulu. Scores of the match were 23-25, 24-26, 27-25, 22-25. UCLA is now 13-4 overall and 10-3 in MPSF play. The two teams will square off again on Saturday night. First serve is at 9 p.m. Pacific time.
In set one, the Bruins opened up early leads of 5-3 and 9-6. UCLA still led 16-14 after a kill by Trent Kersten. Hawai’i tallied the next two points to even the score at 16. UH then went on to take the lead, at 18-20, forcing a Bruin timeout. UCLA cut the margin to 20-21 on a kill by Gonzalo Quiroga, but Hawai’i scored next for another two point advantage. UCLA evened the score at 22 on a block by Kersten and took a 23-22 lead on an ace from Jackson Bantle. However, Hawai’i came back to score the next three points to win the set 23-25.
The home team moved out to a 4-7 lead in set two. A block by Kersten and Robart Page reduced the margin to one at 7-8. UH then pulled out to a 12-15 lead only to see UCLA come back to tie the set up at 16-all. The Bruins took a 20-18 only the see Hawai’i score four of the next five points. A kill by Page tied the score at 22-all. The Rainbow Warriors registered the next two points to take it to set point only to see the Bruins battle back to level the score at 24. The home team then used an ace serve to win the second set 24-26.
Hawai’i came out strong in set three and established a 6-11 lead. UCLA cut the gap to 13-15 at the media timeout. Page’s 12th kill of the match tied the score at 16. The score was then even at 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24 and 25 before UCLA fought off a match point and earned a 27-25 win after a Page kill and a UH hitting error.
The score was tied several times to start set four. UCLA took a 12-10 lead only to see the Rainbow Warriors tie it up at 12. The Bruins took another two point advantage at 14-12, but UH came back to even things up at 14-all. UCLA finally opened up some separation, taking a 19-16 lead after kills from Kersten and Hagen Smith. The home team came back to even the score at 21-each. The next two points also went to Hawai’i forcing coach John Speraw to call UCLA’s last timeout. A Spencer Rowe kill made it 22-23, but it would be UCLA’s last point. A hitting error and a big block handed Hawai’i the set 22-25.
Quiroga led the Bruins with 19 kills, hitting .417 on the night. Page added 17 kills and three blocks. Smith had four kills, six digs, 44 set assists, two aces and two blocks. Rowe totaled seven kills and four blocks. Kersten chipped in with five blocks. Hawai'i hit .346 for the match.