No. 14 Hawai'i Sends Coach Wilton Out With Thrilling Victory
HONOLULU, Hawai'i - University of Hawai`i men's volleyball head coach Mike Wilton coached his final match at UH on Saturday night at the Stan Sheriff Center, and his team sent him out in style, beating No. 5 USC 3-1 in front of a loud home crowd.
With three seniors playing their final home match and Wilton coaching his final match at UH, the team used the momentum to outlast the Trojans 30-32, 33-31, 38-36, 30-27.
Wilton announced his retirement last week after 17 successful seasons as head coach. He was honored before the game with his 300th victory ball and a maile lei. Wilton also received an honorary certificate from the Honolulu City Council and the UH athletics department will be receiving resolutions from both the City Council and State Senate in honor of coach Wilton.
After 17 seasons, Wilton ends his UH career with a 316 victories. He posted four 20-win seasons and had the Warriors ranked in all 17 years.
Saturday night was also an emotional night not only for Wilton, but for three seniors playing in their final match. Following the match, Sean Carney, Jim Clar and Michael China were all honored. Carney and Clar are both four-year letterwinners, while China is a three-year letterwinner.
Overall Joseph Strotman recorded a career-high 30 kills and hit .270 in the match. Josh Walker just missed his career-high by one kill as he posted 29 with a .390 hitting percentage. In his final match, Jim Clar had eight kills and Sean Carney had 70 assists and 10 digs in his final match. At libero, Michael China recorded a career-high 13 digs in his final match.
In the first set, UH jumped out to an early 10-4 lead, with momentum from the crowd behind the Warriors. USC rallied back to tie the set 27-27, and went on to win 32-30. Walker and Strotman each had seven kills, while Clar added four in the set.
The Trojans took the early lead in the second set until the Warriors tied the score 15-15. UH continued the momentum in a back-and-forth set and pulled out the thrilling 33-31 victory. Strotman had 10 kills in the set and Walker added five kills.
The third set was one of the more exciting sets of the year for UH, with the Warriors pulling out a 38-36 victory. Strotman and Walker each had nine kills in the set as the Warriors hit .339 as a team.
In the fourth set, UH fell behind early, but came back just like in the previous sets. UH went on to win 30-27. Walker had eight kills and Strotman added four in the set.
Article courtesy of Hawai'i Athletics.