UH snaps MPSF skid


POSTED: Saturday, April 11, 2009

The thoughts of what could have been swirled around the Stan Sheriff Center last night.

The two freshman hitters who were expected to carry Hawaii—Steven Hunt and Gus Tuaniga—were healthy, as was junior middle Matt Rawson. And senior Sean Carney was back at setter.

When Rawson put back an overpass, someone yelled, “;Just like old times.”; And it was ... even if it was against Pacific, a team with one Mountain Pacific Sports Federation victory in two seasons.

Still, it didn't matter because a win was a win, particularly when it's been a long time coming. Led by Hunt's 25 kills and a career-high 13 from Joe Strotman, No. 14 Hawaii ended a six-match MPSF losing skid when turning back Pacific 30-24, 25-30, 30-26, 30-25 in 2 hours and 8 minutes.

The crowd of 1,150 who braved the rain saw the Warriors improve to 7-17 overall, 4-15 with their first MPSF victory since March 6.

The Tigers, getting 23 kills from Jeff Hendershot, dropped to 3-25 and 0-19. UOP will try to pick up its first MPSF win in tonight's rematch at 7.

“;I had to win my spot back,”; said Carney, who's been at outside hitter for more than half the season. “;And we had to win this one. UOP is a scrappy team, and if you don't respect your opponent you'll get beat.

“;I thought everyone played solid, and Hunt finally found a groove. This is the lineup for the most part that we thought we'd have this year, one that I said early in the season that there was no way we weren't making the playoffs.”;

But Hawaii isn't, for the second consecutive year. Last night the Warriors saw some hope for the future, with Hunt coming on strong at the end to finish three kills off his season high and Strotman having a solid night at the revolving door that has been the opposite position.

“;The last couple of weeks I've been feeling it,”; Strotman said. “;And it carried over from the UCLA match (his career high of nine April 3).

It wasn't an easy night for either team, beginning with Set 1.

Right about the time Hawaii usually struggles—near the 20-point mark—the Warriors got it right.

Down 19-18, Hawaii took advantage of a UOP net violation to go on a 4-0 deciding run. Steven Grgas was in on two blocks and Strotman put down one of his five Set 1 kills to push the Warriors ahead for good at 22-19.

The Warriors pulled away at 28-21 on two consecutive kills by Rawson and an ace by Carney.

The Tigers got on the Warriors early in Set 2, sparked by Hendershot. The senior opposite had three straight kills that put UOP up 10-6.

Hawaii rallied to within 19-17 on Carney's third ace but got no closer. Hendershot added another four kills, including the set ender, to even the match.

Despite impressive hitting—one error in 28 attempts—the Warriors struggled to put away the Tigers. Hawaii survived a yellow-card point assessed to libero Ric Cervantes for arguing a call that tied it at 12.

It was tied seven more times before the Warriors gained separation at 22-20 on a hitting error by Hendershot and a kill by Grgas. The Tigers hung around late, closing to 25-24, but a service foot fault on Clay Ostrander jump-started Hawaii's closing run, with Hunt's 16th kill ending it.

Hunt was just getting started. He had the Warriors' first three points and five of the first seven.

It remained close until the end, with the Tigers refusing to fold and staying within two. The breaking point came late, with Hunt's 24th kill sparking a 3-0 run that was punctuated by Carney stuffing Hendershot for a 28-23 lead.

Hunt put down his last attempt on Hawaii's second match point.

Hawaii won the block battle 15-8.5, with Rawson in on seven and Grgas six.


MPSF standings

x-Pepperdine172.895 19-2
x-UC Irvine163.842 121-4
x-CSU Northridge155.750 2 1/222-5
x-Stanford127.631 519-9
x-BYU127.631 516-10
x-USC128.600 5 1/216-9
UCLA911.450 8 1/213-14
Long Beach State911.450 8 1/212-13
UC San Diego713.350 10 1/211-14
Hawaii415.211 137-17
UC Santa Barbara416.200 13 1/28-17
Pacific019.000 173-25

x-clinched MPSF playoff spot

Hawaii def. Pacific 30-24, 25-30, 30-26, 30-25
UCLA def. USC 33-31, 27-30, 22-30, 32-30, 19-17
BYU def. Stanford, 26-30, 33-31, 30-24, 24-30, 15-11
CSU Northridge def. UC San Diego, 30-26, 29-31, 30-22, 38-26
Long Beach State def. UC Santa Barbara, 30-20, 26-30, 30-20, 30-24

Pacific at Hawaii, 7 p.m., Stan Sheriff Center
Pepperdine at UC Irvine
BYU at Stanford
CSU Northridge at Long Beach State
UC Santa Barbara at UC San Diego


Hawaii def. Pacific

30-24, 25-30, 30-26, 30-25























































































































































Tigers (3-25, 0-19)



Warriors (7-17, 4-15)

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—Pacific(5): Borchin, Pratte, Daley, Hendershot, Hindsley. Hawaii (6): Carney 3, Hunt 2, Grgas. Assists—Pacific (59): Fuchino 52, Pratte 2, Hendershot 2, Bauhs 2, Borchin. Hawaii (60): Carney 58, Strotman, Cervantes.
T—2:08. Officials—Ernest Ho, Dan Hironaka. A—1,150.