So Nice They Upset Twice
Written by Derek Kravitsky
(March 1, 2014) - UH did the seemingly impossible, twice. They defeated the No.3 UCLA Bruins, two nights in a row. With many people questioning whether they’d be able to repeat their epic performance from Friday, the Rainbow Warrior’s answered the call and conquered their visitors in five down to the wire sets: 22-25, 25-18, 24-26, 25-16, 15-11.
The first set saw the Bruin’s looking to exact revenge for last night’s major upset as they came out with a 7-2 run which had the Rainbow Warriors on their heels. With Hawai’i playing timid early, the Bruin’s relaxed and eased their grip on the game. The Rainbow Warriors capitalized and put together a 7-4 run of their own, highlighted by scorching kills from Sinisa Zarkovic. “Siki” left the arena with 13 kills.
The Stan Sheriff Center fell eerily quiet after UCLA’s Spencer Rowe hit the ground awkwardly and clutched at his knee. After being helped off the court by his teammates, the Bruin’s rallied and closed out the first set with relative ease albeit a small Hawai’i comeback which came a little too late.
With the second set underway the Rainbow Warriors took control early and didn’t let up until they lit up the scoreboard for the 25th time. Coming up big late in the second was Taylor “Sunny” Averill who had powered the ball through the Bruin’s paws and followed up it up on the next play with a perfect pancake to keep the ball alive while simultaneously setting up Jace Olsen for a huge kill. Averill ended the night with 10 kills.
The third set saw Hawai’i take an early 5-4 lead but it was immediately snatched away and held onto until the Bruins allowed the Rainbow Warriors to tie it up at 21 apiece. The third set was marred by numerous service errors on both sides of the court. UCLA served up six compared to UH’s eight. With the score even at 21 each team traded blows, until both teams squandered opportunities to close the game.
Bruin, Trent Kersten, fell victim to the deafening shouts from the green and white clad fans and launched the ball directly into the net on his chance to end the set. UH was unable to take advantage of after a misguided kill from Taylor Averill landed outside the line and brought the third set to a close.
The Bruin’s chance to end the night in the fourth set slipped out of their hands thanks to an opening 9-3 run from the Rainbow Warriors. With Hawai’i dominating, the Bruins called a timeout to regroup; unfortunately, things only got worse for UCLA. UH once again stifled all attacks coming from the Blue and Gold. Coming up big for UH offensively was Canada’s injection of adrenaline, Brook Sedore who blasted five more kills down the pipe. Sedore finished the night with a game-high 22 kills.
With four previous sets of both the Rainbow Warriors and Bruins seeing times of domination, the fifth and final set was an absolute nail-biter, with no clear-cut favorite. Every score from Hawai’i drew roars from the crowd. Nick West can be held responsible for nearly blowing the roof of the Stan Sheriff after thunderous kill had fans jumping to their feet. West also showed off on defense accumulating six blocks on top of two digs and six kills.
After coming out of a necessary timeout, UCLA was greeted with a massive ace from Siki Zarkovic bringing the game to set point and Aloha Ball. The Rainbow Warriors didn’t disappoint as they rifled a ball off of the extended arms of the Bruins.
With two major upsets in two nights, the Rainbow Warriors celebrated in the middle of the floor with a River dance/can-can dance to the delight of all those in attendance.
To catch all the full game highlights of tonight’s amazing match, tune into Oceanic Time Warner Digital cable Channel 13 and 1013.