Reserves help No. 1 Hawaii to another sweep
Jan. 29—Opportunity emerged as the theme of top-ranked Hawaii's three-match swing through North Carolina.
Opportunity emerged as the theme of top-ranked Hawaii's three-match swing through North Carolina.
UH men's volleyball coach Charlie Wade started a new-look lineup for Saturday's match against Barton and the Rainbow Warriors completed their first road trip of the season with a quick 25-11, 25-19, 25-14 sweep of the host Bulldogs in Wilson.
Wade gave the UH reserves ample opportunities to play extended roles throughout the trip and the Warriors swept all three matches with Queens, Belmont Abbey and Barton to extend their winning streak to 16.
Alaka 'i Todd made his first start of the season at opposite on Saturday and the junior put away a career-high 13 kills for a UH attack that hit.429.
Brett Sheward, normally the Warriors' starting libero, went the distance at setter and had 34 assists and had nine digs. Sheward's move gave 'Eleu Choy his first career start and the Farrington alum posted six digs and four assists.
Freshman middle blocker Kurt Nusterer made his first start and had seven kills in eight attempts with no errors to go along with three blocks and an ace. Senior Kana 'i Akana had six kills in nine swings.
Middle blocker Cole Hogland remained in the starting lineup and had four kills and was in on five of UH's nine blocks.
UH (7-0 ) never trailed in a 70-minute match that included one tie, at 11-11 in the second set.
"It was always the goal to get a lot of guys in if you can, " Wade said. "That's the best way to get them in, to give them the start instead of trying to find a time to get them in, and it worked out well. ... Overall it was pretty clean, and for our second-and third-string guys to play that efficient was good."
The Warriors will have a week off before going back on the road for a two-match series at No. 7 Stanford on Feb. 10 and 11.
All-America setter Jakob Thelle remained in Hawaii for the cross-country trip, outside hitter Spyros Chakas sat out the last two matches and Wade also gave usual starters Dimitrios Mouchlias, Chaz Galloway and Guilherme Voss the night off on Saturday.
"Hats off to our first team for being such good teammates and cheering us on the whole time, " Todd said. "it was just awesome being out there and getting the green light from Coach Charlie with all my 'A-plus side' players."
Freshman Cole Ottmar earned a spot on the 14-player travel roster and started at outside hitter in his collegiate debut. He finished with eight kills, including the first and final points of the match.
"He really is brand new to it, " Wade said of Ottmar, who redshirted last season. "He jump touches 11-9 or higher now, so he's got a really good upside and I think he played really well tonight. Overall he passed the ball well, he put the ball inbounds from the service line. He's going to be a good player."
Wade said the 6-foot-5 Ottmar didn't play high school volleyball in Spangle, Wash., but connected with former UH All-American Rado Parapunov during a grass volleyball tournament one summer.
"Rado gave him my number and he goes, 'contact my coach, ' because they were watching him and he was pretty dynamic and athletic and we started talking to him and said we'd give him a shot, " Wade said.
On the other side of the net, the opportunity to take on the two-time defending national champions appeared to energize the host teams and drew larger than usual crowds to their arenas.
Barton coach J.T. Deppe finished his collegiate playing career last year at King University and his parents attended UH. Tom Deppe lettered for the Rainbow Warriors in 1988 and'89 and his mother runs a company that printed T-shirts to commemorate Saturday's match.