Third-ranked UCLA dropped its second straight match to No. 11 Hawai’i in an MPSF contest played on Saturday night in Honolulu. Scores of the match were 25-22, 18-25, 26-24, 16-25, 11-15. UCLA is now 13-5 overall and 10-4 in league action.
The Bruins moved out to a 7-2 first set lead behind the play of Michael Fisher and Trent Kersten. Hawai’i came back to tie the score at 14-all. UCLA took a 17-15 advantage on a kill by Fisher and stretched the margin to 21-17 behind the serve of Fisher. UCLA capitalized on a UH attack error and service error to go ahead 24-19 and closed out the set at 25-22 on a kill by Gonzalo Quiroga.
Set two was a see-saw affair early with the score tied at points three through eight. A series of attack and service errors helped the Rainbow Warriors cultivate a 10-15 lead. The Bruins could not close the gap, and after trailing 13-18 and 15-20, dropped set two by a score of 18-25. UCLA hit .192 for the set.
The third set began the same way as set two with the score tied up early. UCLA used service errors to take a 13-10 cushion. A Robart Page kill made it 15-12 for the Bruins. UH closed to within one point on a few occasions but UCLA was able to move back out to a 20-17 lead. The home team battled back to tie the set at 21-all and went ahead at 23-24. A Fisher kill evened the set at 24 and following a couple of Hawai’i attack errors UCLA owned a win in set three, 26-24.
The Bruins never got traction in set four, falling behind 1-5 and 3-9 before coach John Speraw called his first timeout. UCLA closed to 8-12 after back-to-back kills from Quiroga, but it would not get closer. Hawai’i built its lead to 11-19 before the second Bruin timeout and went on to win the set 16-25. Once again, the Bruins managed to hit just .192 for the set.
In the deciding set, UCLA opened up a 3-0 lead after an ace from Mitch Stahl. Hawai’i battled back to level the score at 6-all. The Bruins tied up the score at 9, 10 and 11 after three kills from Robart Page. Hawai’i registered the next two points to force a Bruin timeout at 11-13 and went on to take the set 11-15 and the match.
Page topped UCLA with 16 kills and an ace. Quiroga totaled 15 kills and had one ace. Fisher finished with 13 kills. Kersten had four blocks and seven kills. Setter Hagen Smith handed out 47 set assists and managed four digs and a couple of blocks. UCLA will play at UC Santa Barbara on Mar.5 before returning to Pauley Pavilion on Mar. 8 to host UC San Diego.