UCLA Outlasts Hawai'i in Five
April 2, 2009
The ninth-ranked UCLA men's volleyball team survived a spirited University of Hawai'i rally and won in five games in Pauley Pavilion Thursday night.
The Bruins outlasted the Rainbow Warriors 30-27, 30-22, 24-30, 25-30, 15-13 in two hours and 15 minutes in front of 629 delighted partisan fans. The victory raised the Bruins' overall record to 11-13, 7-10 in MPSF play. The Warriors fell to 6-16, 3-14. UH is 0-9 on the road this season; UCLA raised its home record to 7-3.
The Bruins dominated the first two games, out-hitting their guests .413 to .241. However, they had no answer for UH freshman Steven Hunt who slammed 10 kills and hit .533 on 15 swings.
In Game 3, Hunt lit up the Bruins for another eight kills and was hitting .600 through three games.
In Game 4, UCLA was cruising with a 20-16 lead before unraveling in one of the most unexplainable opponent rallies of the season. After Hunt recorded a kill to give the Warriors a point and serve, setter Nejc Zemljak stood on the line and served eight consecutive points to give UH a 25-20 lead. The Bruins never recovered and lost the set, 30-25.
In the fifth game, it was the Bruins that rallied. After UCLA freshman Jack Polales committed a service error, the Bruins were down, 3-6. They climbed back into it at 8-8 when freshman Thomas Amberg converted a kill, and took a 12-9 lead on a pair of blocks and an attack error by Zemljak. But the Warriors stormed back to tie it at 12-12 on kills by Jarrod Lofy and Hunt and a block on Polales. After a UH service error gave the Bruins a point and the serve, the Warriors appeared to regain the momentum when Amberg let a ball drop off his own blockers. That miscue tied the score at 13-13. But senior Sean O'Malley gave the Bruins a 14-13 lead and setter Kevin Ker and freshman Nick Vogel combined to block Joshua Walker's attempt to ice the match for the Bruins.
Ker recorded a season-high of 68 set assists and scored 4.5 points on three kills (.750) and three block assists. Amberg and Vogel combined for 32 kills, the former leading the Bruins with 17 (.593) and eight block assists for 21.0 points. Polales added 16 kills and five block assists for 18.5 points. Vogel converted 15 kills (.520) and recorded five total blocks; O'Malley added 14 kills (.407) and four total blocks, including two solos.
Hunt led Hawai'i with 28 kills (.512) and 30.5 points.
Both teams conclude the series Friday night at 7 p.m. in Pauley Pavilion.
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