Big Block Propels No. 12 Hawai'i Past UC Northridge In Five

1/30/2009

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HONOLULU, Hawaii'i - The University of Hawai‘i men's volleyball team ended a six-match losing streak with a 21-30, 30-28, 22-30, 30-23, 15-12 victory over second-ranked Cal State Northridge Friday in a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation match at the Stan Sheriff Center. The Warriors (2-6, 1-4 MPSF) won for the first time since the season-opener and extended their win streak over CSUN in Honolulu to six matches.
 
Despite being out-hit by the bigger Matadors, the Warriors surprisingly were bigger at the net, out-blocking CSUN 19-9. Steven Grgas led UH with 10 blocks while Joshua Walker had eight to go along with 14 kills.
 
UH head coach Mike Wilton tinkered with his lineup, starting sophomore Brennon Dyer at left-side hitter and going deep into his bench as reserve outside hitter Joseph Strotman played extensively throughout the match. Dyer led the Warriors with 18 kills and added nine digs and five blocks. Strotman, who was used as a primary passer in place of regular starter Gus Tuaniga, had six digs, three kills and three blocks.
 
Hawai‘i could not find an answer for CSUN's Eric Vance, who led all players with 32 kills on .385 hitting. In Northridge a year ago, Vance pounded a career-high 40 kills against UH. Tanner Nua added 12 kills but had 12 errors.
 
The Matadors (6-1, 3-1) pounded 71 kills compared to only 46 for UH but CSUN shot themselves in the foot committing 33 service errors.
 
In Game 1, the Matadors jumped out to a 15-11 lead midway through the set. CSUN extended their lead to 24-15 before closing out the set, 30-21. The Matadors hit .419 while limiting the Warriors to .136.
 
After trading sideouts for the first half of Game 2, the Warriors scored three straight points to take a 17-14 lead. The Matadors went on a 7-2 run to go ahead 22-20 before UH answered back and retook the lead at 25-24. Moments later on UH's second set point, CSUN's Jacek Ratajczak served long giving Hawai‘i a 30-28 victory.
 
After the intermission, the Matadors regained their form jumping out to a 15-10 lead in Game 3. The Warriors, who hit -.026 for the set, would not get closer than five the rest of the way in a 30-22 Matador win.
 
The Warrior block frustrated the Matadors for much of Game 4. UH got some breathing room at 20-15 and sided-out the rest of the way for a 30-23 victory.
 
In the deciding fifth set, the Warriors led 6-3 before three straight errors allowed CSUN to tie the score at 6. UH scored the next two points and extended its lead to 10-7. After the Matadors closed to within 11-9, Walker's 13th kill and a Warrior triple block gave UH a 13-9 lead.
 
Dyer's 17th kill gave UH match point and Walker finished it with his 14th kill.
 
The Warriors and Matadors play again on Saturday. First serve is 7:00 p.m. at the Stan Sheriff Center.

Article courtesy of Hawai'i athletics.

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