Men’s Volleyball ‘Bows beats UC Santa Barbara | Sports

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HONOLULU — The No. 2 Rainbow Warrior volleyball team edged out No. 3 seed UC Santa Barbara for a 3-0 sweep Friday night to advance to the Big West Men’s Volleyball Championship game. The match scores were 25-18, 26-24 and 25-14.

“We came out pretty clean,” Hawaiian coach Charlie Wade said. “We pride ourselves on being productive and efficient and when we do that we believe we can beat everyone.”

As the crowd took a step back from seniors’ night, a respectable 5,238 fans gave the SimpliFi Arena at the Stan Sheriff Center an electrifying atmosphere. The fans helped bring the energy, especially in the third set which saw the ‘Bows win by the widest margin of the night.

“No matter how many times you play in front of such a big crowd, every time it’s just as exciting,” Gauchos junior outside hitter Ryan Wilcox said. “It was a good crowd for them and I’m sure it helped them.”

Wilcox, a Punahou graduate, was the best option for the Gauchos as he got 38 of the team’s 96 total attempts, swinging for 13 eliminations and seven errors. Junior opposite hitter Haotian Xia was quiet all night, recording just nine kills and eight errors.

“It’s something that I personally focused on,” second-year middle tackle Guilherme Voss said of Xia. “I knew he was one of their key players, so I focused more on slowing down.”

Voss was constantly around the ball, leading the ‘Bows with seven total blocks, one solo and six assists. Chakas continued his well-balanced game ranked second in blocking with five total blocks, two solo assists and three blocks.

The ‘Bows launched a barrage on the Gauchos, totaling 41 kills and eight attacking errors on the night, hitting .364. The Gauchos had 36 kills against 20 typing errors for a 0.167 finishing percentage.

Sophomore opposite hitter Dimitrios Mouchlias topped the stat sheet with his 15 kills, two errors and .419 hitting percentage. Outside hitter Spyros Chakas wasn’t far behind, tallying 11 kills and a .364 hit percentage on the night.

Chaz Galloway returned to the starting lineup after a two-game streak that saw Filip Humler take his place. Galloway finished the night third on the team with seven kills, but really shone in the reception game with 18 receptions and no errors.

Jakob Thelle swung five times for a kill and an error, but dished out 33 assists in 57 attempts for a 0.579 fatality rate.

The Mānoa Roofing Co. was boosted by crowd noise, totaling 13 blocks overnight compared to the Gauchos’ 3.5. Hawaii also eliminated the Gauchos 32-29 to complete their defensive effort on the night.

“We finished with 13, that’s 4+ a set,” Wade said of the blocking game. “We’ve been around or leading the nation all year at nearly three, so obviously it was pretty effective tonight.”

Although the ‘Bows fell short of the 90% mark on entry percentage, they did manage four aces, two of which belonged to Chakas. While it may not be reflected on the stat sheet, they put pressure on the Gaucho offense, keeping them out of the system despite the number of service line pedestrians.

“It’s their serve that allows them to block well,” UC Santa Barbara coach Rick McLaughlin said. “They take us out of the system with big serves, and blocking becomes a pretty easy game.”

After the sweep, the ‘Bows went to a 23-5 season record. They will now return to the Stan to take on rival and seeded Long Beach State on Saturday, April 23 at 7:30 p.m. HST. The match will be broadcast on Spectrum Sports.

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