Warrior Volleyball: Hawaii sweeps Waves

Hawaii closes out the regular season with a three game win over Pepperdine, the first time since 1989 that Hawaii has won in Malibu.

Malibu, CA -The Warriors had double cause for celebration Friday night at the Firestone Field House in their final regular season game as head coach Mike Wilton captured his first career win there, when his squad blanked the Pepperdine Waves, 3-0 (30-27, 30-27, 30-26 ). In addition senior Kimo Tuyay dished up 38 assists and became the Warrior's all-time assist leader in the final regular season game of his career. Hawai`i, who now stands sixth in Mountain Pacific Sports Federation standings, will finish the season with a 17-11, 13-9 MPSF record.

Leading the Warrior attack was outside hitter Delano Thomas who had a team high 14 kills for the Warriors as well as three service aces. The Warriors served up nine aces in the night's win, including two each from Matt Bender and Pedro Azenha. Bender also had nine kills; while Joshua Stanhiser put down 11 kills and had five blocks. In addition to Stanhiser's defense, Mauli`a LaBarre had a team high seven blocks including three solo blocks. The Warriors outblocked the Waves, 14 to eight and a half.

In game one Pepperdine came out with the early lead, 5-2, but the Warriors quickly caught up off a Thomas ace to a one-point lead. Both teams played evenly in the game, but the Warriors managed to get the advantage over the Waves at 26-all off a Bender kill. The Warriors took game one, 30-27 with a huge solo block from LaBarre.

The Waves kept it close to start game two, but the Warriors powered up to take a 3-point lead at 7-11. Hawai`i managed to maintain a safe lead for most of the game, until a Pepperdine run put the Waves to within two. Two was too close for the Warriors as they closed out the game with a pair of kills from Bender for the 30-27 win.

The Warriors burst on to the court in game three and maintained a secure lead for the first half of the game. Back to back aces from Delano Thomas gave the Warriors a 19-12 advantage, but the Waves closed in on them after a 4-0 run. But to no avail, the Warriors finished the game after a hitting error from James Ka and snatched the 3-0 win.

Hawai`i will return home on Saturday, April 17 for a brief rest before returning to Southern California to face the UCLA Bruins on April 24 at the Pauley Pavilion in the first round of the MPSF Tournament.

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