Hawaii men’s volleyball: Guilherme Voss, Rainbow Warriors throw block party against Nittaidai

Hawaii’s Guilherme Voss slammed down a point during the second set against Nittaidai on Wednesday. / Photo by Andrew Lee, Special to the Star-Advertiser

The size differential was as vast as the swath of Pacific Ocean that separated the campuses of the two schools on the Stan Sheriff Center floor on Wednesday night.

Hawaii and Nittaidai of Tokyo, Japan, came together to engage in an entertaining contrast of men’s volleyball styles in the first of two exhibitions this week.


Nittaidai, which featured players mostly hovering in the 5-foot-11 to 6-2 range (a couple topped out at 6-6 and 6-7), showcased its speed and defense from first serve. It appeared more than a few times that the Japanese squad had a six-player rotation of defensive specialists, considering the rate they dug balls and kept rallies alive.

The visitors flowed in rhythm and took the first set against the taken-aback ‘Bows before the hosts unleashed their own brand of defense in a 19-25, 25-18, 25-17, 25-20 victory for UH seen by 2,564.

UH turned to its blocking ability to swing the match. The final stuffs tally was a staggering 19.5 to 3.5, more than offsetting Nittaidai’s 42-25 advantage in digs.

The middles were particularly effective, with burly 6-10 senior Patrick Gasman and mobile 6-7 freshman Guilherme Voss combining for 17 kills. Gasman got in on nine blocks and Voss three in three sets of work; Charlie Wade turned over Set 4 to the “A-plus Side.”

“They play faster, they can dig a lot better than a lot of teams that we’re used to,” Voss said. “So we had to keep at it, be patient. We eventually got through it.”

Nittaidai’s defensive abilities made for some long rallies.

Baseline video courtesy of Kaylee Hull:

Nittaidai coach Kenji Yamamoto spoke with admiration of the Hawaii front line, one that represented a style and physical presence wholly unlike what his team sees back home.

“Hawaii University’s student players are very taller and hard to block. Very good, very good,” he said through an interpreter. “We (get) good training from this because they are taller and hard blocking.”

Nittaidai’s Makoto Nisimura and Ryo Takahashi tied for match-high honors with 13 kills apiece. Rado Parapunov led UH with 10 on 20 swings.

The teams meet again at 7 p.m. Friday. Like Wednesday, it will not be on TV.

Hawaii’s Guilherme Voss (21) and Rado Parapunov (19) battled at the net with Nittaidai’s Ryo Takahashi in the first set. / Photo by Andrew Lee, Special to the Star-Advertiser