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Week 5 | 6 takeaways for Rainbow Warrior Volleyball 2024

Week 5 | 6 takeaways for Rainbow Warrior Volleyball 2024

By: Tiff Wells

1 – Shakas For Chakas. A week after sitting out due to load management, floor captain Spyros Chakas was back in the lineup for the huge early season test against fifth-ranked Stanford. Night one for the Greek featured a 15 kill on 30 swing performance with just four hitting errors to help UH’s offense hit a combined .403 in sets two through four. A well-rounded opening night saw Chakas hit .367, have five assists, serve an ace, pick up eight digs and be in on two blocks. If you thought night one was good (and it was), night two was one to remember. February 9th was the Spyros Chakas match. A season-high 23 kills (including 10 in the closeout third set) on 30 swings with only one hitting error to hit .733, he also added career service ace number 99, tying him with Naveh Milo for 10th-place all-time in program history. All the shots…cross-court…on the ‘bic’…line…rolls…tools…Chakas had Stanford in his bag all match long. Don’t be surprised when the conference awards come out on Monday and the National award is announced on Tuesday if you don’t see the name Spyros Chakas attached to one…or both.

2 – Defense…Defense…Defense. The blocking numbers were down just a little bit coming into month two of the season and with their biggest test of the season to date on the docket, many wondered how would The Mānoa Roofing Company do against No. 5 Stanford, one of the more efficient and experienced offenses in the country. Getting stuff blocks is one thing, but also getting block touches is just as important in order to slow the attack down to allow the backrow a better chance at picking up the dig. UH used a season-high tying 11.5 blocks in the 4-set win on night one and then on night two, the Bows outblocked Stanford 7.5 to 2. For the two-match series, UH won the block department 19 to 6. The dig numbers also went in favor of UH in both matches, 39-33 in the first match and then 23-20 on night two. As Guilherme Voss mentioned in our Tony Group postmatch show on Friday night, it was about getting more block touches and the net defense did just that. But it was UH collectively holding a high-octane Stanford offense to their two lowest hitting percentages of the season. Albeit the Cardinal didn’t have their top hitter in Will Rottman (lower extremity injury), UH held Stanford to .153 on night one and .146 on night two.

3 – Confident Todd. It’s one thing for a first-year starter to have big numbers against Emmanuel, Purdue Fort Wayne and Tusculum. Another question thrown out there was how would Alaka`i Todd do against a top-5 team in Stanford. Question answered on night one was yes he can. For a second time this season, Todd eclipsed his career-high in kills. 30 swings, 17 kills to hit .367 and also add in a career-best nine digs. Night two saw the opposite hitter have a lighter load because of the match Spyros Chakas was having. An efficient 9-0-15 to hit .600 to boost the confidence of the sixth-year senior. And like Chakas, it was the array of shots from Todd that kept the Stanford defense on its heels. Hitting high and hard, off the edge of the block, roll shots, wiping it off the block, Todd has credited much of his development to learning from his predecessors Rado Parapunov and Dimitrios Mouchlias.

4 – See The Rainbow Through The Trees. Former conference foes before UH left to help startup the Big West Conference after the 2017 season came to an end, Hawai`i has dominated the series as of late against the Cardinal. After these two massive wins to boost the RPI and enhance the resume, the Bows now hold a 50-38 all-time advantage, including 11 straight. In matches on the island, UH has now won nine in a row over Stanford. The Bows continue to do well in the month of February as they’ll carry a 35-match win streak into the series against Missouri S&T on the 22nd and 23rd. Not since February 25th, 2018 against UCI has the Bows lost a home match during second month of the year.

5 – Passing The First Test. The Rainbow Warriors have heard about the non-conference schedule. Why are you playing this team? Why can’t you schedule more elite teams? Yes you dominated a Conference Carolinas team (Emmanuel) and an Independent (Tusculum) program. But you split at home against Loyola when you were up 12-7 in the 5th set. Purdue Fort Wayne wasn’t ranked at the time and well, Ball State was only 15th. The noise has been heard but the program has it go in one ear and out the other. Focused on their side of the net, the seniors led the way for the Bows in the two-match series with the Cardinal. Chakas averaged 5.43 kills per set, Chaz Galloway recorded 12 kills and six blocks, Todd went career on night one and Voss went errorless (11-0-19) and was in on seven blocks. While the Cardinal didn’t have their top hitter due to injury, UH only lost one set in the two matches while holding Stanford to 15 points or less in three of the seven sets played. We mentioned the hitting percentage. .346 on night one and then a season-high .594 on night two where UH had a total of three hitting errors. Also for the Bows, they sided out at over 70% in four of the seven sets played.

6 – #PackTheStan. When you see the hashtag on social media, you know it’s going to be a large home crowd. A program that routinely leads the nation in attendance, UH boosted that number with two large crowds against the Cardinal. In the two-match series against the fifth-ranked team in the country, UH saw over 14,000 in house. That includes a then season-high of 5,212 on night one…a Wednesday. Granted the Walter Pyramid seats less than half of the capacity of UH’s facility, Long Beach State drew a standing-room only crowd of 4,304 for their home match against the defending National Champs, the UCLA Bruins. A crowd dressed in their best white attire for the run-it-back match saw UH debut their new retro uniforms as well. The sweet threads led to the sweet sweep as a season-high 8,930 took in the match. The hottest ticket in town, SimpliFi Arena at The Stan Sheriff Center has been the place to be. With 11 home matches remain plus the conference tournament remaining on the home docket, you don’t want to miss out on #WarriorBall24.

Photos: Jonathan Salvador