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Hawaii rallies past USC in 5 in volleyball

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There was no room for error — or breathing —  late in Set 4 tonight for the Hawaii volleyball team. The No. 11 Warriors trailed 24-21 and needed to hold off three set points by No. 13 USC to have any chance at forcing a fifth set, what would be a program-record 10th five-setter.

Behind the serving of Brook Sedore who capped a 5-0 run with his third ace, Hawaii turned the improbable into magic. Sedore and Siki Zarkovic both put down 16 kills to lead Hawaii to a 24-26, 21-25, 25-22, 26-22, 15-9 over the Trojans at the Stan Sheriff Center.

The Warriors (6-12 overall, 5-10 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation) snapped a four-match losing streak when defeating the Trojans for the first time in four meetings. The match lasted 2 hours and 46 minutes. 

Tanner Jansen had 20 kills and Joey Booth 19 for USC (4-10, 4-10). Setter Micah Christenson, a Kamehameha product, finished with 50 assists and libero Henry Cassiday, a Punahou graduate, finished with 15 of the team’s 50 digs.

The teams meet again Friday at 5 p.m. at the Stan Sheriff Center.

The Warriors looked in control in Set 1, taking a 21-18 lead and serving for the set at 24-23. The Trojans used a UH serving error and two blocks to pull out the win.

Hawaii needed to rally late in Set 3 in order to avoid the sweep. Tied at 22, Sedore put down a kill and Averill was in on two blocks to pull it out.

The Warriors dug themselves into deep holes in Set 4, trailing 5-1, 8-2 and 20-15. At 24-21, it looked to be all but over when Zarkovic got things started to pull to 24-22.

Kills by Sedore and Jace Olsen tied it and a mishandled ball by Josh Kirchner gave Hawaii its first lead of the set at 25-24. Sedore aced Cassiday to end it.

The Warriors rode the momentum into Set 5, with Averill and Zarkovic blocking Robert Feathers to give Hawaii the 4-1 lead. The Trojans never got closer than two, with the Warriors pulling away at 10-4 and 13-7.

Hawaii needed two swings to end it. Averill put down his seventh to end the marathon. 

The Warriors out blocked the Trojans 15-7, with Averill in on 8. Zarkovic finished with four of the team’s 12 aces.

Hawaii improved to 5-5 in five-setters. USC dropped to 0-2 in five-setters, including last Sunday’s 3-2 loss at Stanford. 

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