Hawaii can't buy a victory


POSTED: Friday, March 06, 2009

This one hurt. Truly hurt.

Hawaii had a combined seven chances at pulling off a sweep of UC Santa Barbara last night but couldn't put the ball down when it counted. Instead, it was the Gauchos who won the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation volleyball battle between teams desperately needing a victory to keep slim playoff hopes alive.
























        NEXT UP

        vs.UC Santa Barbara today




Led by Jeff Menzel's 22 kills, No. 14 UCSB defeated No. 12 Hawaii for a fifth straight time. Career nights by four Warriors—including Joshua Walker's 30 kills—were not enough as the Gauchos pulled it out, 27-30, 32-30, 41-39, 30-26, in 2 hours and 25 minutes.

A Stan Sheriff Center crowd of 2,226 saw UCSB improve to 5-11 and 3-10 MPSF. Hawaii, which has not won since Jan. 31, dropped to 3-11 and 2-9.

“;This really hurts,”; Walker said. “;We just couldn't finish. And after losing (Set 3) we were so deflated.

“;We kept shooting ourselves in the foot, not putting down balls in transition. We need a win.”;

It was the fifth straight loss for the Warriors, who feel like they've been 0-for-forever. Indeed, Hawaii went 0-for-February when losing four.

But last night was more than winnable. Hawaii gave away 22 points on service errors and “;that becomes a trust issue,”; Warrior coach Mike Wilton said. “;You're not able to trust your teammates serving.

“;Josh had a great night hitting, but he couldn't serve a ball. We did a lot of good things tonight, but our trust was eroded by those serving errors.”;

Walker had a team-high six errors to go with his match-high 30 kills. Turning in career nights for Hawaii were junior Steven Grgas, with 15 kills in his move to opposite; freshman middle Jarrod Lofy with 12 kills and setter-turned-hitter Sean Carney with 10 kills.


That the match didn't go five was a relief for the Gauchos, who were 1-4 in five-set matches this season.

“;We had come so close to winning so many times. ... We didn't want it to slip away again,”; first-year UCSB coach Rick McLaughlin said. “;I think it helped us mentally that we had been in so many tough ones.

“;I expect an even bigger battle tomorrow.”;

The teams meet again at 7 tonight.

The turning point of the match was in Game 3, where there were 23 ties and eight lead changes.

“;That was everything,”; McLaughlin said.

Hawaii struggled early in Set 3 but stayed close, with Grgas' 11th kill tying it at 8-8. The Warriors had their first self-described blackout—aka a loss of focus—that helped the Gauchos jump ahead at 12-8.

With Lofy continuing his career night, the Warriors hung around, scrapping their way to knot it at 23. In a lengthy edge-of-your-seat finish, it was tied 15 more times, with both teams trading leads and attempts at ending it.

The Warriors had five tries at it, with the last one at 39-38 on Carney's 10th kill. The Gauchos responded with the deciding run, getting a kill by Jake Rosener and two consecutive blocks, first on Matt Rawson and then Grgas.

The night started off so promising for Hawaii. The hustle that went for naught last week against Stanford was rewarded, with Hawaii converting digs into points that turned into a 26-23 lead. UCSB never got closer than two, the last at 29-27, but Walker put down his seventh kill to end it on UH's first swing for the set.

It was the first set Hawaii had won since Set 1 at Long Beach State on Feb. 13; the Warriors had lost the last nine.

Hawaii had two chances to win Set 2 and take a 2-0 lead, the last set point at 30-29. But UCSB used a 3-0 run to close it out, getting a kill by Rosener and two by Menzel, to even the match.



The 41-39 score in Set 3 was the second longest in UH's rally scoring history. In 2001, the Warriors outlasted UCLA 44-42 in Set 4 of a five-set loss.


MPSF standings

UC Irvine102.833 14-3
CSU Northridge102.833 14-2
Pepperdine92.818 1/210-2
USC83.727 1 1/211-4
Long Beach St.74.636 2 1/28-6
BYU64.600 39-7
Stanford76.538 3 1/211-7
UCLA47.363 57-10
UC San Diego38.272 6 1/27-9
UC Santa Barbara310.231 7 1/25-11
Hawaii29.182 7 1/23-11
Pacific013.000 10 1/22-15

UC Santa Barbara def. Hawaii 27-30, 32-30, 41-39, 30-26
CSU Northridge def. BYU 30-24, 30-28, 30-25


UC Santa Barbara def. Hawaii

27-30, 32-30, 41-39, 30-26























































































































































Gauchos (5-11, 3-10) 



Warriors (3-11, 2-9)

Key—g: games; k: kills; e: hitting errors; att: attempts; pct: hitting percentage; d: digs; bs: block solo; ba: block assists; pts: points (kills + blocks + aces)
Aces—UC Santa Barbara (2): Menzel 2. Hawaii (4): Rawson 2, Grgas, Zemljak. Assists—UC Santa Barbara (84): Devany 79, McGuire 2, Rosener, Moisenco. Hawaii (79): Zemljak 74, Cervantes 3, Grgas 2.
T—2:25. Officials—Ernest Ho, Wayne Lee. A—2,226.