No. 2 Hawaii volleyball team continues tear in North Carolina
Hawaii shredded what the Royals had hoped would be an improved defense with a 25-7 Set 1 rout. And it wasn’t even that close.
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Due to a basketball doubleheader at the Levine Center, No. 2 Hawaii didn’t get in its normal serve-and-pass warm-up routine Saturday morning.
Instead, the Rainbow Warriors used the first 20 minutes of the nonconference men’s volleyball rematch against Queens as practice … target practice. Hawaii shredded what the Royals had hoped would be an improved defense with a 25-7 Set 1 rout.
And it wasn’t even that close.
The Warriors (8-0) used a 10-0 start in Set 1 to jump-start their eighth straight sweep, defeating Queens for the second time in three days, 25-7, 25-16, 25-10, in Charlotte, N.C. Hawaii did not give up more than 20 points in any of the sets in the three matches of its first road trip, that coming against Saint Francis in Friday’s 25-15, 25-20, 25-12 victory.
The host Royals avoided an even more embarrassing loss when, at 24-4 in Set 1, they held off three set points. Warriors senior hitter Stijn van Tilburg put down his second kill to end it, leaving the court with four other starters and yielding to the rest of the 12-man travel roster.
Senior hitter Brett Rosenmeier and freshman opposite Filip Humler had eight kills apiece in playing the final two sets, and Humler had half of the Warriors’ six aces. Senior middle Dalton Solbrig (7 kills) and sophomore libero Gage Worsley (10 digs) were the only ones to play all 67 minutes.
“I liked that we were able to get the rest of the guys in — it’s always a good sign when they keep their efficiency going,” said Hawaii coach Charlie Wade, who didn’t sub much on Friday but used everyone in the two matches against Queens. “We got off to a good start and I think we caught them a little flat-footed.
“(The starters) were focused. There were some things we wanted to work on. I told Joe (senior setter Worsley) that we really wanted to get the middles more involved, continue that connection.”
That connection worked well for Warriors middle Patrick Gasman, who was effective in the brief stint in the front row. Queens had no answer for the 6-foot-10 Gasman, who put down all five of attempts and was in on the first six of Hawaii’s 11 blocks.
The Warriors only used four servers in Set 1, taking leads of 10-0, 16-1 and 24-4.
Hawaii, the national leader in hitting percentage (.470), finished at .423. The Warriors hit .667 in Set 1 with just one error.
Freshman setter Jakob Thelle ran the offense the rest of the night.
“He’s a good player, just needs to log some minutes for us,” Wade said. “We’ve been using him mostly as a serving sub and he wasn’t serving like he does in practice. With him in there setting, he started ramping up his serve.”
Wade also pointed to the value of Rosenmeier, who started 18 of 24 matches last year, but has been replaced in the lineup by junior Colton Cowell.
“I’ve told Brett that he’s one of the most important guys we have,” Wade said. “He keeps working hard and is always ready when called on.”
Although none of the three road matches lasted more than 75 minutes, Wade said the trip was worth it.
“We have some pretty meaningful road matches ahead.”
Hawaii was to return home this afternoon and then prepare for its final contests before opening Big West play at UC Irvine on March 1. The Warriors host Lincoln Memorial (7-4) at 7 p.m. Friday and 5 p.m. Sunday.