The big block from UCLA was able to stifle Hawai’i’s explosive offense and give the Bruins another Outrigger Invitational championship.
Middle attacker Trent Kersten was one two Bruins with at least five blocks as No. 6 UCLA defeated Hawai’i 25-19, 14-25, 25-19, 25-16 in the defacto tournament championship match on Saturday in Honolulu
UCLA (3-1, 0-0 MPSF) in the victory to capture its fourth consecutive Outrigger Invitational title out-blocked Hawai’i 12.5 to 8.5.
Kersten finished the match with five blocks, including a match-high two solo blocks. In addition, All-American middle attacker Spencer Rowe led the Bruins with six blocks against the Rainbow Warriors (2-1, 0-0 MPSF).
Along with his blocks, Kersten was one of three UCLA players to have double-digit kills. The sophomore in the tournament finale had 10 kills with zero attack errors and a match-high .667 attack percentage.
Outside attacker Robart Page had a match-high 16 kills with a game-high seven kills coming in the fourth game to secure the victory. Page also led the Bruins in kills in all three of their matches at the Outrigger Invitational.
Hawai’i outside attackers Sinisa Zarkovic and Jace Olsen in the loss both finished with a team-high 13 kills.
The Bruins out-hit the Rainbow Warriors .301 and .209 and had zero attack errors with a match-best .483 attack percentage in the final game.
UCLA and Hawai’i entered the finale of this non-conference tournament after they both defeated No. 10 Penn State and Ohio State in the first two days of the Outrigger Invitational. Those victories set-up the defacto championship between the two conference rivals.
With this victory, UCLA becomes the first program to win four consecutive Outrigger Invitational championships in the 20-year history of the tournament. In addition, the Bruins during this four-year stretch improved to 11-1 at the Outrigger Invitational.
Following this defacto championship match, UCLA and Hawai’i will begin their conference seasons next weekend.
UCLA will return home to play host to No. 5 Stanford in its MPSF opener on Friday, while Hawai’i will continue its homestand with a two-match weekend series against No. 1 Long Beach State.