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Week 6 | 6 takeaways for Rainbow Warrior Volleyball 2024

Tiff's Takeaways Week 6

By: Tiff Wells – ESPN Honolulu’s Hawaii Men’s Volleyball Play-by-Play

1 – Tone Set Early. Against a first-time opponent playing the sport in just its second year, how would Hawai`i respond coming off its final bye week of the regular season? Without Spyros Chakas for the first match due to load management, the offense didn’t miss a beat. Keoni Thiim got the start and scored kills on his first six swings. As a team through the first two sets, UH hit .676 (28-3-37) and sided out at 79.5% (20-25) off first-ball contact. The blocking was just as efficient as The Mānoa Roofing Company notched 7.5 total team blocks in that first set. A 95-minute 3-0 opening night win paved the way for another 95-minute 3-0 sweep on night two.

2 – The Toddfather. As Head Coach Charlie Wade mentioned in training camp ahead of the season opener, we will only go as far as our opposite will take us. Alaka`i Todd entered the week hitting .421 (BWC 2, NCAA 3) and averaging 3.45 kills per set (BWC 5, NCAA 19) and continued to shine in the opener against Missouri S&T. A 15-kill performance on 21 swings with just one hitting error, Todd hit .667 to lead UH’s offense. Efficient and productive, Todd has taken that starting opposite position by storm. Although the numbers were a little bit down on night two (5-3-13, .154), Todd has proven to be one of the top right-side attackers here in 2024.

3 – Up, Up & Away…Galloway. Not to be outdone by his other pin hitters, Chaz Galloway was just as productive and efficient as anyone over the series. And he did so in just four sets played. Night one saw Galloway score seven kills on 10 swings with just one error to hit .600, while adding two digs and two blocks before giving way to Louis Sakanoko. Not to be outdone in the run-it-back match, Galloway hit .583 while putting down nine of his 12 swings. He also dealt two of UH’s 12 service aces before once again seeing Sakanoko take his place. Arguably his best performance of any series here in 2024, it’s nice to see the upward trajectory for Galloway as we head into month three of the season.

4 – Bench Mob Assemble! It’s not depth if you don’t play it. That’s the line we routinely hear from Head Coach Charlie Wade. With Spyros Chakas out on night one, it was a different outside hitting tandem of Chaz Galloway and Keoni Thiim. Throughout the match, we saw Kai Taylor as a service sub, and then three changes to the starting lineup in Set 3 (Louis Sakanoko, Alex Parks and Kevin Kauling). Nine players scored at least one kill as 12 saw action in the second match. While the original starting seven began the match, five subs came off the bench throughout the match. Highlights included the walk-off service ace from Kai Taylor and also the UH debut of Punahou alum Zachary Thompson. Four kills on four errorless swings, Thompson did admit to us in the Tony Group Post-Match Show that he needs to get more of his float serves in play.

5 – Season Lows In Wins. Against a first-time opponent in just its second year of playing volleyball, one wouldn’t think the third-ranked team in the country would have a season low…let alone two of them. UH came into the week leading the nation in aces per set (2.51) and had just four in the first match. After a 10-block performance on night one, the Rainbow Warriors recorded only two on night two. Even with the different lineup combinations throughout the series and the backup setter running the offense in the final set on both nights, the offense wasn’t as crisp nor efficient as it was during the beginning of each match. Too many unforced hitting errors on both nights in Set 3 (6 for each Set 3), UH didn’t hit above .240 in either of those Sets. Yes they won both of those sets by five and eight, but one would still like to see the consistency and efficiency remain throughout both matches. One final tune-up next week against Sacred Heart before another hosting yet another exciting Outrigger Volleyball Invitational

6 – Streaks Continue. More discussion for the fans and media than anything else, UH extended a couple of its winning streaks after the two wins over Missouri S&T. The Rainbow Warriors closed the month of February undefeated…again. Now 36 consecutive wins dating back to the 2018 season. Since 2013, UH hasn’t lost at home to an unranked team and after these matches, that streak extended to 62. Sitting at 12-1, UH brings an 11-match win streak into March. A streak that has seen UH lose just three sets along the way.