Hawaii men’s volleyball: Reserves again carry day against Queens

Hawaii celebrated after sweeping Queens on Thursday night. / Photo by Andrew Lee, Special to the Star-Advertiser

Given what happened in Hawaii’s last three-day tournament, perhaps it wasn’t all too surprising what transpired on Thursday night at the Stan Sheriff Center.

Charlie Wade turned to his backups, by and large, and his backups delivered against Queens on Day 1 of the Outrigger Hotels and Resorts Invitational in a 25-10, 25-15, 25-17 sweep.

Colton Cowell, Rado Parapunov, and Patrick Gasman were among the “A side” players to have the night off. The “A-plus side” guys had the run of things, with the exceptions being libero Gage Worsley and freshman hitter Chaz Galloway, who became a legitimate every-set starter during the team’s road swing through the states of Illinois and Tennessee late last month.

Redshirt sophomore middle Max Rosenfeld pounded nine kills on 11 swings (.818) and freshman opposite Dimitrios Mouchlias dropped seven on 14 swings (with four errors). Jakob Thelle, who’s given way to Brett Sheward of late, fielded most of the setting duties.

“We were able to get some of the guys who don’t play a ton some real quality court time tonight, and I thought they responded really well,” Wade said.

“I’m always looking at the timing of getting the bench guys in. The decision tonight, just to start ’em. And then really save the legs of the front-line guys, for them now it’s a two-day tournament. So I thought it was win-win.”

UH (10-0) plays No. 14 Concordia Irvine at 7 p.m. Friday. The Eagles lost in four to crosstown rival UC Irvine in the tournament’s first match Thursday.

Mouchlias, of Greece, got in one of his first interviews after sharing some of the spotlight in Thursday’s nightcap, which included a 12-0 UH run to close Set 1.

He was straightforward about the challenge the Rainbow Warriors face on the next two nights.

“We’re going to do our best. We’re going to play hard like we do every time,” said Mouchlias, whose kills and swings were season highs. “We’re going to scout the teams and we’re going to play hard.”

“He’s a pretty no-nonsense guy,” Wade said of Mouchlias with a chuckle. “I’d like to see him get a little personality, but that’ll probably come with time as he gets a little more comfortable being out there.”

He added of the freshman, “Well, we know he’s really good. He’d start for most of the teams we’ve played. He’s a six-rotation point scorer. Got off to a little slow start tonight; some of that was on Jake (Thelle), but then you saw him heat up at the end of Set 1 and through Set 2. He … is gonna have a great career.”