By Cindy Luis
In a word, dyskolos.
Or, in Greek, difficult.
That’s what it was Dimitris “Dimi” Mouchlias last May. While his Hawai’i teammates were in Columbus, Ohio, winning the national championship, the 6-foot-6 opposite was rehabbing from foot surgery in his native Greece.
“It was a difficult time,” he said. “It was hard. I couldn’t be there with the team.
“I couldn’t wait for the next one (national championship).”
Mouchlias has No. 1 Hawai’ off to a great start with it repeat hopes. In Friday’s rematch with No. 7 Loyola of Chicago, Mouchlias put down a career-high 11 kills with 6 digs, 4 blocks and an ace as the Rainbow Warriors remained undefeated with a 25-19, 25-16, 18-25, 25-14 win over the Rambllers at SimpliFi Arena at Stan Sheriff Center.
Sophomore Chaz Galloway had a team-high 12 kills and sophomore middle Guilherme Voss added nine kills with no errors for the Warriors (2-0). Sophomore setter Jakob Thelle again was deadly from the service line with three of the Warriors’ eight aces to go along with 39 assists.
“I think it’s pretty significant (to beat Loyola twice),” Hawai’i coach Charlie Wade said. “They have a really good team, picked to win their league (MIVA).
“Loyola played well. They went on a run (when winning in Set 3) and I’m proud of the guys for taking on the challenge.”
As is often said, don’t get mad, get even. After dropping Set 3, Hawai’i opened with a 4-0 lead that grew to 13-4, punctuated by an ace from Spyros Chakas. The 6-4 Greek national had started in Wednesday’s opener but was replaced by Filip Humler in the starting lineup on Friday.
Chakas was very productive in the one set he played, giving the team a lift, according to Wade, with three kills and two blocks, and an ace that put the Warriors up 13-4.
During the post-match Zoom call, Wade said he liked what he saw from Mouchlias, adding, “He has a pretty unique skill set.
“I’m most happy with him from the service line,” Wade said. “He served in at 100 percent and was absolutely cracking it.”
The Warriors still want to improve on serve-receive. They gave up three aces to the Ramblers but were helped out by Loyola’s 11 service errors.
Hawai’i used 15 players with graduate student Kyler Presho getting his first start at middle and sophomore Humler on the outside. The Warriors also changed liberos in Set 3 with senior transfer Avery Enriques replacing junior Brett Steward for part of the final two sets.
Sophomore hitter Parker Van Buren led Loyola (0-2) with 14 kills and junior hitter Colton Brooks 11. Junior hitter Cole Schothauer added 10 kills and 11 digs.
Hawai’i was out-blocked 4-0 in Set 1 but finished with a 9-7 edge in stuffs.
After dropping the third set, “We had to calm down,” Mouchlias said during the Zoom interview. “We had to play our game and enjoy.
“My biggest challenge was to prove myself again.”
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