Look away for a second, and you might miss something special.
Stijn van Tilburg or Rado Parapunov dropping the hammer. Joe Worsley, at just 6 feet, elevating for a putdown kill when he’s not firing a cross-court set on the money. A blistering serve or a fantastic defensive pickup from just about anyone on the floor.
After a few viewings up close this season, this is what this non-volleyball writer and casual follower of the sport has concluded: The fourth-ranked Hawaii men’s volleyball team is something to behold. And they deserve to be beheld by many in tonight’s 7:30 matchup with USC at the Stan Sheriff Center, and beyond this season.
So far, the crowds have been relatively small. Only 1,873 were counted through the turnstiles for Friday night’s 25-13, 25-12, 25-20 sweep of Concordia-Irvine, after 1,541 came through for the season opener against NJIT.
You’d expect more tonight for the Trojans (2-0). For a UH team (2-0) like this, with legitimate national title aspirations, it should be far more, regardless of opponent. This program — despite getting snubbed for last year’s NCAA tournament — is one of the standard-bearers when it comes to national relevance for the athletic department.
Maybe one of the most striking things is the comfort and ease that Charlie Wade’s group seems to have playing with each other. The bench is fully engaged, vocally supporting their teammates on the floor. Everyone knows their role and performs it with gusto.
As the voice of UH volleyball, Tiff Wells, pointed out after the Rainbow Warriors dispatched Concordia, you only get so many chances to see this team in person. Including tonight, there are only 11 home dates remaining (the next is Feb. 1 against Stanford).
Were I a UH fan — or simply someone who appreciates seeing people do things at a high level — I’d make them count.