Hawaii sinks Pepperdine in 5


POSTED: Sunday, April 25, 2010

Steven Grgas had a good feeling during warm-ups.

“;I've been waiting for this night for five years,”; Hawaii's senior middle said.

So had the Warrior faithful. Not since 2003 had the Hawaii men's volleyball team won a playoff match at the Stan Sheriff Center.

The Warriors did it in impressive fashion, shaking off a shaky Set 4 and a slow start in Set 5 to turn back the Waves 24-30, 30-24, 30-26, 22-30, 18-16 in 3 hours and 4 minutes.

Not only did Hawaii win its 200th match in the Sheriff Center, the Warriors (19-9) moved into the semifinals of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation tournament.

Led by Jonas Umlauft's 36 kills, Hawaii eliminated Pepperdine (16-9) from the playoffs. The Warriors will face top-seeded and host Stanford Thursday. In the other semifinal, No. 2 Brigham Young meets No. 3 Cal State Northridge.

Joshua Walker and Grgas added 12 kills and Matt Rawson 11 for Hawaii, beating Pepperdine in the Sheriff Center for the first time since 2003. The Warriors held off one set point by the Waves and made good on their third attempt at ending it on Nejc Zemljak's ace that hit the tape and dribbled over.

J.D. Schleppenbach led Pepperdine with 20 kills and Rodnei Santos added 16.

The Warriors ran their record on Saturday night to 8-1 and 5-2 in five-set matches.

Hawaii jumped out early in Set 1, with Umlauft putting down two kills in a 4-1 lead. Pepperdine went ahead for good at 8-6 on a 3-0 run capped by an ace from Santos.

After a second ace by Santos pushed the margin to 19-14, Grgas helped pull the Warriors to within 19-18 with three kills.

Hawaii again came within a point (22-21) with Rawson putting down a quickset. Pepperdine held, with an ace by Tyler Jaynes highlighting a 4-0 spurt that put the Waves in control at 26-21.

The momentum traded sides with the teams, with Grgas serving four straight as the Warriors pulled away at 12-8. The Waves responded with four points of their own to tie at 12, what would be the fifth of six ties.

The sixth was at 13. It was brief, with Walker serving consecutive aces and Rawson and Umlauft stuffing Cory Riecks on back-to-back plays to give UH a seemingly commanding lead at 20-13.

The Waves narrowed the gap to 21-19 but never got closer. An ace by Zemljak and Umlauft's 12th kill gave the Warriors a 28-22 cushion and they only needed to sideout the rest of the way to even the match.

Hawaii shook off two controversial calls in pulling out Set 3. Instead of getting mad when trailing at 15-12, the Warriors got even ... pulling even at 20 on a block of Schleppenbach by Hunt and Grgas.

Rawson served four in a row and Grgas had a solo stuff of Jaynes as Hawaii took a 24-20 lead. Pepperdine never got closer than 28-26, with Zemljak finishing it off on his own with a kill and an ace.

Nothing went right for the Warriors in Set 4 after tying it at 12-12. The Waves simply ran away in forcing Set 5, the 10th this season for Pepperdine and the seventh for Hawaii.