Mens Volleyball: Hawaii beats Lewis in Five

The Warriors outlast defending national champion Lewis in five games to capture the Outrigger Invitational.

Honolulu, HI -The Warriors couldn't have asked for a better way to start the New Year and the season. Hawai`i beat defending national champions Lewis in five (26-30, 30-23, 33-31, 28-30, 15-10) to win the Outrigger Hotels Volleyball Invitational championship.

Lewis jumped to an early 6-1 lead, as the Warriors struggled to gain control of the game and win their first Outrigger title since 1999. Lewis led by seven at mid-game and continued to dominate game one. A pair of kills by Pedro Azenha and Arri Jeschke seemed to reenergize the Warriors, who came within three before Lewis took the game, 26-30.

In game two Hawai`i took a tentative 6-4 lead as they looked to get control of the match. Two straight kills from Josh Stanhiser and an Azenha ace was all the Warriors needed to get enough confidence to lead Lewis by six at the mid-game media timeout. As 5503 Warrior fans went crazy Hawai`i grabbed the second game from the Flyers, 30-23.

The Warriors kept it close to start game three. Lewis managed a slight lead before Hawai`i pulled ahead largely through Arri Jeschke's performance off the bench. Jeschke had eight key kills to end the night. The Warrior's barely pulled a victory in game three, 33-31.

The Flyers took an early 4-1 lead at the start of game four. As Hawai`i tried to get its momentum from the earlier games, Lewis wrested control of the floor back from the Warriors. Freshman Jon Bergman contributed five kills to Lewis' victory in game four. Along with this Jeff Soler had six kills in the game that he added to his team high 20 for the match.

In the deciding game five, Hawai`i and Lewis teeter-tottered with the score until a kill by Delano Thomas gave the Warriors aloha ball, 14-10. A double block from Azenha and middle blocker Mauli`a LaBarre gave the Warriors a decisive victory.

Hawai`i took first place in the tournament, with Manitoba in second, Lewis in third and Penn State in fourth. Azenha, who had a team high 33 kills for the night, was named the Outrigger Invitational most valuable player. Murray Laidlaw (Manitoba), Keith Kowal (Penn State), Jeff Soler (Lewis), Josh Stanhiser (Hawai`i), Mike Munday (Manitoba), Delano Thomas (Hawai`i), and Rickey Mattei (Penn State) were named to the Outrigger Hotels Volleyball Invitational All-Tournament team.

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