UH wins, gets to host volleyball playoff match
When the music stopped, Hawai'i earned the right to host a volleyball playoff match and UC San Diego coach Kevin Ring received a Coach of the Year vote.
The combination of UH's 33-31, 30-28, 30-26 road victory over UC Santa Barbara, and UC San Diego's five-set upset of Pepperdine gave the Warriors' a host berth for Saturday's opening round of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Tournament.
After losing in three sets to UC Santa Barbara Friday night, the Warriors needed to win last night's rematch, and hope that either Pepperdine or Cal State Northridge would lose. The Warriors held the tie-breaker over Pepperdine and Northridge.
But Northridge rallied to defeat Brigham Young. Both teams finished in a tie for second, behind Stanford, with 15-7 MPSF records.
That left the Warriors and Pepperdine to battle for the fourth — and final — host's berth for the eight-team tournament.
After finishing off the Gauchos, the Warriors (14-8) gathered at a courtside computer to watch the GameTracker account of the San Diego-Pepperdine match.
"I sat on the side," UH left-side hitter Joshua Walker said. "I couldn't watch the screen."
His teammates' roar answered his prayers.
The Waves finished 14-8.
"It's so good to host an opening round," Walker said. "It's exciting."
UH head coach Charlie Wade then sent a congratulatory text message to Ring, who had outdueled two of the sport's greatest coaches — Pepperdine's Marv Dunphy and UCLA's Al Scates.
"I told him he has my vote for Coach of the Year," Wade said. "He's 4-0 against Scates and Dunphy this year. Nobody has done that."
For the Warriors, it all was made possible because of tough serving, steady passing and controlled hitting. The Warriors made only 14 attack errors.
Most of all, the Warriors were able to string together long service runs by each starter.
"When one guy goes back and serves three, four, five times, you win that game," Wade said. "We had one guy do it in every game, and we won all three games."