By Cindy Luis
Outside hitter Spyros Chakas put down a match-high 16 and added a match-high 10 digs as No. 1 Hawai’i swept Queens 25-21, 25-20, 25-17 in a nonconference men’s volleyball match on Wednesday in Charlotte, N.C.
The Warriors (5-0) extended their winning streaks to 14 dating to last season as well as 22 straight against unranked opponents. Hawai’i again was outblocked 9-6.5; the Warriors have been outblocked in all five matches this season.
Hawai’i was without All-American senior setter Jakob Thelle, who remained in Honolulu for what was called “precautionary reasons.” Getting his first start of his career was redshirt sophomore Austin Buchanan, who then gave way to junior libero Brett Sheward, the latter who started eight of the team’s final nine matches before COVID shutown men’s volleyball.
“It was a little bit of a last-minute to leave Jake (Thelle) out of an abundance of caution,” Hawai’i coach Charlie Wade said. “It’s a long season and it was a chance to give him a rest. I think it was the right thing to do.
“Plus it was good to get Austin his first start and to get Brett in. It was a good win against a quality, veteran team on the road.”
Hawai’i won the ace war 7-1, with opposite Dimitrios Mouchlias and reserve opposite Alaka’i Todd each with two. It was Todd’s 6-0 serving run that included both aces that gave the Warriors a 21-13 lead in Set 3.
“I think our serving again was the difference,” Wade said. “I don’t think they were prepared for it.”
Wade made wholesale changes to his lineup in Set 3 with Sheward moving from libero to setter, replacing Buchanan. Todd replaced Mouchlias on the right side, Keoni Thiim was in for Chaz Galloway at the O2 and ‘Eleu Choy subbed in for Sheward at libero.
The Royals (1-4) were led by senior setter-turned-opposite Daniel Leitao, who put down 14 kills. not committing an errors until his 28th attempt when hitting wide to give the Warriors a 17-13 lead. Leitao also was in on all nine of his team’s blocks.
Down 12-8 in Set 2, Wade called timeout.
“We needed to get the timing down on the block,” he said. “Their opposite (Leitao) was really effective. It took a while to adjust.”
The lead was 16-13 then 17-15 as the Warriors began to cut into the lead. Leitao put down his ninth kill without an errors, then this 10th, then his 11th, the last giving the Royals what would be their last lead at 20-19.
With Leitao out of the front row, Hawai’i went on a 5-0 run, kicked off by a kill by Chakas that tied it at 20. A kill by junior middle Guilherme Voss, two kills by Mouchlias and a block of Sterling Sims by Mouchlias and Voss gave the Warriors set point. The Warriors needed two with Mouchlias putting down his seventh an final.
“I’m proud of (Buchanan),” said Chakas, who tied his career-high in digs with his second double-double of his UH career.. “Although I haven’t had that many reps with us in practice, he was able to connect with all of us.”
It was the first time this season at Queens sold tickets to a men’s volleyball match. Announced attendance was 455, a season high.
“I’m really pleased with how we competed tonight” Charlotte coach Jeremy Price said. “Even though the result wasn’t what we wanted, we did a really nice job of embracing the moment and utilizing a very strong crowd presence to help electrify our play. I can’t thank the Queens community and the volleyball community as a whole throughout the Carolinas for their support tonight. We fed off the energy in the building and played really well throughout.
Hawai’i is next at Belmont Abbey (1-5) on Thursday at 2 p.m. HST. The Warriors conclude their first road trip at Barton (0-4) on Saturday (2:30 p.m. HST).
NOTES: Chakas’ only other double came last May in the national semifinal against Ball State. He had 19 kills and 10 digs in the five-set win over the Cardinals …
Hiya Cindy! This isn’t a comment on Mens VB but a question referring what is the latest or more recent news on how Anna is doing in her fight against MS? Would appreciate any new status upon her health! Be safe! Byw!
Sorry, cannot speak to that. Not privileged to the health info. I’m surprised that it hasn’t been announced that she has retired
they had discussed it last fall, early in the season, that she wasn’t going to be playing.
Opps not Byw but Bye