(HAWAII ATHLETICS) – The third-ranked University of Hawai'i men's volleyball team made history Friday, winning its first-ever Big West Conference match in four sets over No. 5 UC Irvine at the Stan Sheriff Center. Set scores were 25-17, 22-25, 25-22, 25-16.
The Rainbow Warriors (9-1, 1-0 BWC) also extended their home conference win streak to 14 matches and defeated the Anteaters for the fifth straight time in the series. Outside hitter Stijn van Tilburg notched his first 20-kill match of the season and sixth of his career, finishing with 21 kills on .372 hitting. Opposite Rado Parapunov added 21 kills, hitting .351.
The Anteaters (10-4, 0-1 BWC), who dropped their third straight match, was led by Aaron Koubi's 17 kills on .500 hitting. Karl Apfelbach added 14 kills.
UH libero Larry Tuileta had 14 digs while setter Joe Worsley dished out 47 assists and tallied four aces. Patrick Gasman had 10 kills and four blocks. Hawai'i hit .336 as a team compared to .318 for the Anteaters.
In Set 1, the Warriors used a 4-1 run to build a 17-14 lead. After a UCI point, UH reeled off six straight for a 23-15 lead as Gasman was part of four of them with two kills and two blocks. UH hit .526 in the frame and Worsley added two of the team's three aces.
UCI scored four straight for a 20-16 lead in Set 2 capped by consecutive kills by Apfelbach. The Warriors answered back scoring four of the next five points to pull within one at 21-20 but the Eaters pulled away with consecutive kills by Koubi to even the match.
The Eaters jumped out to a 10-7 lead to start Set 3. UCI's big block came alive as Scott Stadick was in on three stuffs. UH came roaring back with a 6-2 run for a 13-12 lead. From there, a reversal of points led to a strange occurrence of two media timeouts. The teams traded points until a Gasman-Worsley double-block gave UH a 22-20 lead. The Warriors closed out the set with back-to-back kills by van Tilburg and Parapunov.
The Warriors used that momentum to score the first seven points of Set 4. UH jumped out to a 12-2 lead and the closest the Anteaters would get was six.