(HAWAII ATHLETICS) – The No. 3 University of Hawai'i men's volleyball team suffered a four-set loss to fifth-ranked UC Irvine in the teams' Big West Conference rematch, Sunday at the Stan Sheriff Center. Set scores were 17-25, 25-18, 25-23, 25-22.
However, by virtue of a tie-breaker, the Rainbow Warriors (9-2, 1-1 BWC) captured the inaugural "The Pineapple Orange Crate" which goes to the winner of the UH-UCI series. The Warriors, which won Friday's match in four sets, out-pointed the Anteaters (11-4, 1-1 BWC), 185-to-172.
Stijn van Tilburg once again led the Warrior attack tying his career-high with 27 kills – also set against the Anteaters in 2016 – hitting .458. For the series, the Amsterdam, Netherlands native tallied 48 kills, averaging 6.00 per set. Rado Parapunov added 12 kills and three blocks.
UH, which saw its home conference win streak snapped at 14 matches, hit .397 for the match, however did not record a single service ace after serving eight on Friday.
Karl Apfelbach had 24 kills to lead the Anteaters, which hit .435.
It was a tight battle through the midway point of Set 1 before the Warriors reeled off five straight – four by UCI hitting errors – for a 19-13 lead. UH would close out the set on a 13-4 run and went on to hit .615 in the frame.
The Anteaters came fighting back in Set 2, taking a 9-6 lead after a 4-1 run. The Eaters stretched their lead to 16-11 after three unanswered. UCI did not commit its first hitting error of the set until its 22nd attempt and finished the game hitting .720.
Early on in Set 3, the teams went back-and-forth, trading a pair of three-point spurts each. UH surged ahead 15-12 at the media timeout before the Anteaters rallied to tie it at 21. The teams traded points until a bad pass by UH led to a hitting error and set point for UCI. On the next play, Scott Stadick put down his sixth kill for the Anteater victory.
UH held the early advantage in Set 4, however, consecutive hitting errors by van Tilburg and Gasman tied the score at 12. The Warriors led 15-14 at the media timeout but the Anteaters responded with four straight points for a 19-16 lead. All the Warriors could do the rest of the way was trade side-outs as UCI took the match.
The Rainbow Warriors next host Concordia-Irvine of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation, Friday March 2 and Sunday, March 4 at the Sheriff Center.