The University of Hawai'i men's volleyball team captured the Waikiki Beachcomber Classic title by sweeping Lees-Mcrae, Academy United, and Thompson Rivers.
The Rainbow Warriors didn’t lose a match but they also didn’t even lose a set. UH had four players that made the all-tournament team ballot; Junior outside hitter Stijn Van Tilburg, senior libero Larry Tuileta, junior middle blocker Dalton Solbrig, and last but not least the Most Valuable player of the tournament, junior setter Joe Worsley.
UH (9–1) came out strong to defeat the Thompson-Rivers Wolfpack (13–12) in a three-set sweep 25–17, 25–16, 25–22 on the final night of the Waikiki Beachcomber Classic at the Stan Sheriff Center on Saturday night.
The Rainbow Warriors and the Wolf Pack came out with high intensity. van Tilburg came out with some fire in his eyes getting 4 quick kills at the start of the first set. It was a back and forth battle between the Wolf Pack and UH. With the lead constantly changing in the first set, there was ultimately 4 times were the match was tied.
Junior outside hitter Joshua Mullaney for the Wolf Pack had 3 kills as well as senior outside hitter Tim Dobbert, collecting 4 kills in the first set. With the constant lead changes, the Rainbow Warriors eventually took control of the set. Junior middle blocker Dalton Solbrig got the last kill of the first set making it 25-17.
In the second set, both UH and the Wolf Pack came out looking refreshed and very evenly matched. It was quickly tied up 4-4; a service ace and a kill by sophomore opposite Rado Parapunov gave the Rainbow Warriors a 6-4 lead. Two kills by junior middle blocker Sam Taylor Parks for the Wolf Pack made it tied at 7-7. UH subbed out Solbrig for sophomore outside hitter Colton Cowell. Soon after that, UH started to take over. With multiple service aces and blocks, the Wolf Pack couldn’t hang on like in the start of the set.
The third set was the most competitive the entire match. It was a very fast paced set with both teams bringing focus and the intensity to win. van Tilburg led the set with 6 kills, and for the Wolf Pack, senior outside hitter Tom Dobbert led with 6 kills as well.
Worsley, the MVP of the tournament had a total of 8 assists in the 3rd set. UH started to gain momentum led by van Tilburg, which in return didn’t help the Wolf Pack. When it came down to the last couple of points, the Rainbow Warriors were ahead 24-22. van Tilburg ended the match with a powerful kill making it 25-22.
van Tilburg led UH with 14 kills, 2 digs, 1 block and hitting .636. Parapunov wasn’t too far behind 6 kills, 1 dig, and hitting .600.
Dobbert led the Wolf Pack with 15 kills, 3 digs and hitting .200.
UH will host the alumni on Feb. 18th at 5 p.m. The next Big West match is against UC Irvine on Feb. 23rd at 7 p.m. at the Stan Sheriff Center.