Opposite Stijn van Tilburg had the offensive performance No. 5/4 Hawai’i needed to end its road trip with a win.
van Tilburg finished with a teams-high 19 kills on a .485 attack percentage and added five blocks as Hawai’i defeated No. 6/6 UC Irvine 26-16, 25-23, 15-25, 25-23 on Saturday in Irvine, California, for its first conference victory.
Hawai’i (6-2, 1-2 MPSF) entered this finale of its three-match MPSF road trip following two straight losses to No. 4/5 Long Beach State. The Rainbow Warriors started their first road trip of the year with their best record to open a season in more than a decade.
van Tilburg in the victory was one of two Rainbow Warriors with double-digit kills. Outside attacker Kupono Fey added 10 kills while hitting .318 and had a team-high two aces.
Despite the loss, UC Irvine out-hit Hawai’i .324 to .314. Outside attacker Thomas Hodges also led all players with a season-high 21 kills and hit .444.
The Rainbow Warriors defensively out-blocked the Anteaters 13 to 8, including having three players with at least four blocks.
Middle attacker finished with a match-high six blocks, while freshman middle attacker Patrick Gasman contributed four blocks versus UC irvine (6-2, 3-2 MPSF).
Check out the video highlights of the match filmed by Off the Block special contributor Jonathan Bates.