5th ranked Rainbow Warriors fall to USC in five sets

Hawaii Volleyball vs USC_143560

For the second consecutive night and fourth straight dating back to 2015, the University of Hawai’i and USC men’s volleyball teams went the distance with the Trojans prevailing Tuesday night in a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation rematch at the Galen Center.

Set scores were 25-18, 20-25, 21-25, 26-24, 17-15. In a reversal of fortunes one night earlier, the Rainbow Warriors (10-5, 5-5 MPSF) won in five after trailing two sets to one.

Outside hitter Kupono Fey led the Hawai’i attack with a career-high 23 kills, hitting .341. Over the last three matches, Fey has 59 kills (4.21 avg.), hitting at a .385 clip. The junior also posted four digs and three blocks in the loss.

Fello outside hitter Sinisa Zarkovic (15 kills) and opposite Stijn van Tilburg (11 kills) both reached double figures while middle blockers Hendrik Mol (9 blocks) and Iain McKellar (7 blocks) combined for 16 blocks. As a team, the Warriors recorded a season-best 16 team blocks compared to 8.5 for the Trojans.

Lucas Yoder led USC (3-11, 3-9) with 21 kills and 11 digs.

In the winner-take-all fifth set, the Warriors held three match points at 14-11, including two attempts to end it but Fey and van Tilburg each committed attack errors. Fey’s 23rd kill gave UH its fourth match point but the Trojans scored the final three points with Alex Slaught’s kill and McKellar’s net violation proving to be the decisive point.

The Rainbow Warriors take the rest of the week off before returning to Honolulu for a two-match homestand with MPSF series against No. 1 Long Beach State (Feb. 24 & 26) and No. 2 BYU (March 2 & 4) at the Stan Sheriff Center.

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