Warriors Slay Cougars on Senior Night
By Derek Kravitsky
(April 5, 2014) - Pounding their chest in the style of Mathew Mcconaughey and Leonardo DiCaprio from the now infamous Wolf of Wall Street scene, the Rainbow Warriors celebrated in a circle in the Stan Sheriff for the last time this season. For the second night in a row, Hawai’i upset the No. 2 BYU Cougars, this time in straight sets: 37-35, 25-20, 25-19.
In the longest set in the past four years, the Rainbow Warriors and BYU Cougars tied each other on an amazing 22 separate occasions. Hitting at an unbelievable 100% attack rate was Taylor “Sunny” Averill. Averill not only punished the Cougars on offense, he also decimated them on defense. Averill finished the night with four blocks.
With the Rainbow Warriors poised to capture the first set victory only being up by one, the Cougars played spoiler, tying UH at every turn. But turnabout was fair play as Hawai’i frustrated BYU with diving digs from libero Kolby Kanetake.
Eventually, after the packed house within the Stan Sheriff was huffing and puffing from exasperated sighs and bated breaths, senior middle blocker Nick West ended the first set with a thunderous kill down the pipe. West would play a key role all night, hitting better than fifty percent on 15 attacks.
After a first set which sufficed in excitement for all three sets, the Cougars and Rainbow Warriors took to the taraflex for the second set. Fortunately for both fans and players, the second set wasn’t nearly as exhausting as the first.
UH and BYU traded kills for the first seven points before the Rainbow Warriors decided to add a little mustard to their game and step on the gas. Hawai’i ended up going on a 7-3 run spearheaded by the windmill like arms of senior Jace Olsen and junior Brook Sedore. Sedore finished the night with eleven kills; Olsen ended the evening with nine.
Several volleys past the midway point, there was a spectacular three-way connection between Kolby Kanetake, Joby Ramos and Sinisa Zarkovic. In perfect sync with one another, Kanetake managed a sliding/diving dig directly to a waiting Ramos who would set “Siki” up for a finger breaking kill on the Cougar-end of the court.
Senior Joby Ramos dished out 50 assists while also notching nine play saving digs. Siki executed a game-high 22 kills. To end the much faster second set, senior Johann Timmer who served up a ball the Cougars couldn’t get a handle on.
Entering the third set with an unlikely 2-0 advantage, and with nothing to lose and everything to gain, the Rainbow Warriors showed underdog victories are not just for the movies.
Like they had done all night, Siki and West (sans pinky cast) opened up the third set with floor splintering kills. Meanwhile, Averill used his seemingly endless hang-time to hover above the net and effortlessly poke the ball back over the Cougars paws for huge blocks, igniting a firestorm of cheers from the green seats.
Hawai’i held onto a four and five point lead throughout the third. The only glimmer of hope of a comeback for the Cougars came when BYU went on a flash-in-the-pan 3-0 run. This fire was quickly doused by the ever-ready Rainbow Warriors.
To no one’s surprise, the merciless Serbian import, Zarkovic, earned the last three points for UH. In typical “Siki” fashion, two of his last three points could have broken bones. But ironically, Zarkovic’s last kill fell softly in front of the outstretched arms of a downed Cougar.
UH and its fans said goodbye to five seniors: Joby Ramos, Johann Timmer, Nick West, Aniefre Etim-Thomas, and Jace Olsen. Receiving leis up to your eyes on Senior Night is special, but two upset victories as many nights over the No. 2 team in the MPSF… now that’s something worth celebrating.
To catch all of tonight’s exciting full game highlights, tune into Oceanic Time Warner Digital Cable 13 and 1013.