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Hawaii rallies to beat UC Santa Barbara in five

  • ANDREW LEE / SPECIAL TO THE STAR-ADVERTISER
                                Hawaii’s Jakob Thelle sets the ball.

    ANDREW LEE / SPECIAL TO THE STAR-ADVERTISER

    Hawaii’s Jakob Thelle sets the ball.

The largest and loudest crowd of the season helped spur the fourth-ranked University of Hawaii men’s volleyball team to a comeback win over No. 5 UC Santa Barbara tonight at SimpliFi Arena at Stan Sheriff Center.

A season-high crowd of 5,982 watched the Warriors come back from a 2-1 deficit to force a fifth set and UH pulled out a 19-25, 25-20, 24-26, 25-18, 15-10 senior night win over the Gauchos.

UH outside hitter Spyros Chakas put away four of his 17 kills in the fifth set and had a key service run late to help the Warriors (20-5, 5-3 Big West) improve to 16-0 at home and sweep the two-match series with UCSB.

Warriors opposite Dimitrios Mouchlias matched Chakas by putting away his 17th kill on match point and UH won for the 12th straight time in the series with UCSB.

UH’s late surge overcame UC Santa Barbara opposite Haotian Xia’s 21-kill performance. Punahou graduate Ryan Wlcox added 15 kills for UCSB (17-7, 5-4).

>> PHOTOS: Hawaii vs. UCSB

Wilcox led an efficient UCSB attack with six kills in 11 attacks and the Gauchos hit .500 in the opening set with 19 kills on 34 attempts. Leading 17-16, the Gauchos took command with a 5-1 run that included two kills from Dayne Chalmers and an ace from Xia and UH dropped an opening set at home for the first time this season.

In the middle of another tight set, Filip Humler provided a spark off the bench for a second straight night. He teamed with Mouchlias and Cole Hogland on a triple block thae gave UH a 21-19 lead and pushed a tip through the UCSB block to extend the lead to 23-20. Mouchlias capped a 6-1 run with an ace off the tape to tie the match.

UCSB opened up a 21-17 lead in the third set when Xia put away his 17th kill on his 25th attempt of the night. UH caught the Gauchos at 23-23 on Thelle’s fifth kill, followed by a UCSB error. A service error gave UCSB set point and Mouchlias extended the set with his eighth kill. Xia scored off the block and teamed with Brandon Hicks on a block of Chakas to give the Gauchos the set and a 2-1 lead in the match.

The Warriors broke a 14-14 tie in the fourth set with a three-point run capped by a Mouchlias ace. UH pulled away with a 4-0 run with Thelle on the service line and went to a fifth set for the third time this season and the first time at home.

UCSB took the early advantage in the fifth with Xia’s fifth ace. The teams traded sideouts until UH went on a 6-1 run with Keoni Thiim serving up his second ace of the night to give UH a 9-6 lead.

Xia’s sixth ace of the night cut UH’s lead to 10-9, but the Warriors responded with a 3-0 run. Voss and Mouchlias put down kills, then teamed on a block of Chalmers to give UH a 13-9 lead and force UCSB’s final timeout. Mouchlias ended a rally with a kill to give UH match point. UCSB survived the first but couldn’t return Mouchlias’ final kill to end the match.

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