Mens Volleyball: Hawaii loses home opener

Penn State beats the Warriors in a marathon five game match in the season opener for both schools.

Honolulu, HI -In the Warrior's opening match of the Outrigger Hotels Volleyball Invitational, youth was the name of the game as Hawaii opened up play with only one senior in their starting line up. Before a crowd of 4982, the Warriors fought hard against a Penn State team determined to end their Outrigger Invitational tournament record 9-match losing streak. The determination of the Nittany Lions was too much for Hawai`i who lost the match in 5, 30-26, 36-38, 30-28, 27-30, 15-13.

Penn State took game one, 30-26. The Warriors enjoyed a lead for a while to start the match but by mid-game the Nittany Lions pulled ahead largely through the ability of Keith Kowal to get through the Hawai`i block; Kowal had 19 kills by the end of the match.

The Warriors tall block, led by sophomore Maulia LaBarre and senior Joshua Stanhiser helped to keep Penn State from dominating in the second game. The Warriors volleyed leads with the Nittany Lions throughout game two taking the score to 36-all before the Warriors managed to seize the game 38-36. Middle blocker Stanhiser by the end of game two had accumulated 11 kills.

In game three the Nittany Lions and the Warriors again traded places for the lead, but Penn State managed to gain the win despite the amazing performance put on by Hawaii. Delano Thomas with four kills by mid-game, wowed the crowd with his fierce attacks and even fiercer serves. Thomas 13 kills at the end of the game; he would go on to end the game with a team high 17 kills. In addition to this sophomore Matt Bender was on fire in game three racking up 7 of his 13 kills in game three alone.

Game four saw the Warriors jump to an early 5-1 lead with the help of Jose Delgado and Bender who powered their way through the Penn State defense with a combined nine kills. In his debut as a Warrior, true freshman Brian Beckwith ended the fourth game with 57 total assists. The Warriors fought to regain control of the match as the two teams once again matched point for point, but a double block by Brian Beckwith and Joshua Stanhiser gave Hawai`i the win in game four (30-27) and forced a fifth game.

In the tie-breaking game, Penn State dominated and took the game (15-13) and the match from the Warriors.

Penn State will face the Lewis Flyers in Friday's opening match of day two of the Outrigger Invitational at 5:00 pm. The Warriors will next take on Manitoba 7:30 pm tomorrow.

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