UCSB's sweep dampens host shot
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — One of the Hawai'i volleyball team's best passers was ailing last night.
The Warriors felt even worse after falling to UC Santa Barbara, 30-27, 30-25, 30-28, last night in the first of two Mountain Pacific Sports Federation matches at Robertson Gym.
A series sweep would have guaranteed the Warriors a host's berth in next week's opening round of the eight-team MPSF tournament. The top four finishers in the MPSF's regular season are opening hosts.
Now, the Warriors (17-9 overall, 13-8 in the MPSF) can only host if they win tonight's rematch and either Cal State Northridge (14-7) or Pepperdine (14-7) lose today. The Warriors hold the tie-breaker over both Northridge, which plays Brigham Young, and Pepperdine, which faces UC San Diego.
The Gauchos (9-12) can earn the final berth in the MPSF tournament if they win today and UC Irvine loses.
Last night's match was a showdown between the top two kill leaders in the MPSF. UH opposite Jonas Umlauft had a match-high 21 kills while UCSB's Jeff Menzel tallied a team-high 16 kills.
But the Warriors, for the most part, were without left-side hitter Steven Hunt, one of their primary passers. Hunt complained of flu-like symptoms shortly after the Warriors arrived in California Wednesday night. He did not practice Thursday nor participate in in yesterday morning's serve-and-pass session.
Ernie Vidinha started in Hunt's place. Hunt tried to play in the third set, but he appeared to be weak. He was subbed out early.
Because of inconsistent passing, the Warriors were unable to get into an offensive rhythm.
Meanwhile, the Gauchos turned the Warriors' best serves — and Joshua Walker and Nejc Zemljak were blasting jumpers — into accurate passes. The Gauchos were able to run their quick-middle attack. Middles Dylan Davis and Scott Slaughter combined for 15 kills with no errors.