The top-ranked Hawaii men’s volleyball team overcame a slow start to defeat Nittaidai of Japan 19-25, 25-18, 25-17, 25-20 in an exhibition match played before 2,564 people tonight at the Stan Sheriff Center.
UH, which last played on Feb. 15 at Stanford, hit .360 for the match after looking a step slow in the opening frame. It was the first set dropped at home this season by the Rainbow Warriors, although it will not be reflected in the season’s official results and statistics.
The ’Bows called upon their distinct size advantage to outblock Nittaidai emphatically, 19.5 to 3.5. Senior middle Patrick Gasman got in on nine. Senior opposite Rado Parapunov led UH offensively with 10 kills on 20 swings, hitting .450.
Nittaidai came out with a fast-flowing attack that had the Rainbow Warriors on their heels for the entirety of Set 1. UH, which played all of its regular starters, hit only .167 for the frame to the visitors’ .208.
UH awoke in Set 2, hitting .556. Middle Guilherme Voss had seven kills on eight swings at that point.
Gasman highlighted Set 3 with a diving save on the floor, followed immediately by a stuff of Nittaidai.
Coach Charlie Wade put in some reserves for Set 4. They were up to the task, as UH hit .462 in the frame and stuffed Nittaidai four times, including match point by Dimitrios Mouchlias, Alaka‘i Todd and James Anastassiades.
The teams meet for a second exhibition at 7 p.m. Friday. UH (14-0) resumes official matches on March 5 against No. 2 BYU at the Sheriff.