Warrior Volleyball: Hawaii wins in five

Hawaii upends Long Beach State in five games in the first of two matches this weekend at home.

HONOLULU -With a career high 27 kills sophomore Matt Bender led the Warriors to perhaps one of their biggest wins of the season, a 3-2 (25-30, 30-25, 29-31, 30-28, 15-13) triumph over No. 2 Long Beach State. The Warriors improve their record to 15-8, 11-6 MPSF, while the 49ers drop to 21-5, 14-4 MPSF.

In addition to Bender's career high kill mark, the sophomore hit .457 for the night, served up two aces, and had five block assists. Outside hitter Delano Thomas put down 20 kills and served up three aces for the Warriors, while middle blocker Joshua Stanhiser put down 10 kills and put up six blocks. In his most significant outing as a Warrior, middle blocker Dio Dante tallied a team high seven blocks and also had two service aces. The Warriors had 10 service aces for the night, including three from sophomore Pedro Azenha in addition to Thomas' three.

In game one the Beach quickly jumped to a 4-1 lead as the Warriors were left to play catch up. In the race toward 15, the 49ers quickly retook control of the game and were up by two at mid game. The Warrior's slowly crept back into the game with the help of two consecutive Azenha serves. But Long Beach State were not to be stopped in game one, they allowed the Warriors to come within two at 20-22 but only allowed five more Hawai`i points before they took game won 30-25.

The Warriors kept things even to start game two, but jumped to their most significant lead of the evening at 16-11. With Bender's arm and the Warrior defense on fire the team found much success in the game. But at 23-17, a 5-0 Long Beach run put them within one point of the lead. But that was the closest the Beach would get as the Warriors cruised to a 30-25 win on a pair of blocks from Bender and Dante.

Game three continued to keep the Stan Sheriff Center crowd of 4797 on the edge of their seats. At 14-11 the Warriors let their lead slip and they fell behind by two, but they quickly made up the difference by scoring 8 of the next nine points. The Warriors scored off a service error to tie things at 29, but two 49er kills gave them the win, 31-29 and a 2-1-match advantage.

Long Beach State quickly established themselves in game four as the Warriors slowly got into gear trailing by two at mid game. But the team quickly put things in high gear in the second half, trading leads with the Beach and then taking the game 30-28 after a huge kill by Azenha.

With things all tied up in the match, the Beach and the Warriors never let a point go by easily and kept things fairly even to start. A three-point run by Long Beach State gave them a two-point advantage, but the Warriors later returned the favor by going on a 3-0 run of their own and taking a small lead. At match point the Beach's kill leader Jeff Wooten, who had 21 kills for the night, served long and gave the Warriors a 15-13 game five and 3-2 match win.

The Warriors have won their last six match ups versus Long Beach State and will attempt to extend that streak tomorrow at 7:00 pm at the Stan Sheriff Center.

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