Hawaii men’s volleyball: Tickets going steadily for matchups with No. 2 BYU

Hawaii fans cheered among a sold-out crowd against Long Beach State for the Big West tournament championship on April 20, 2019. / Photo by Andrew Lee, Special to the Star-Advertiser

This week’s marquee matchups between the top two men’s volleyball teams in the nation have become hot tickets.

A UH spokesperson said as of Tuesday afternoon there were roughly 6,500 tickets issued for Thursday’s 7 p.m. match and about 8,800 issued for Friday’s 7 p.m. rematch. That would leave about 3,800 left for Thursday and 1,500 left for Friday.

They are the biggest men’s volleyball matches at the Sheriff since UH conquered rival Long Beach State in front of a raucous sold-out crowd for the Big West tournament championship last April 20.

No. 1 UH (14-0) features some new rotation players who did not see any action in last year’s high-stakes contests, like redshirt freshman setter Brett Sheward and freshman middle Guilherme Voss, or a very limited amount, like sophomore hitter Filip Humler.

Veterans like Colton Cowell, Rado Parapunov, Patrick Gasman and Gage Worsley will attempt to guide the younger ones through the expected additional nerves against the No. 2 Cougars (16-0), the only other unbeaten team in the country. Parapunov explained that fellow senior James Anastassiades is championing the “Pack the Stan” initiative.

“We’ll see it when we get out there,” coach Charlie Wade said of how his team will respond to the large crowds. “It’ll be fun. I mean, for us being at home and playing in front of our fans like that, it’s a big lift for us, for sure.”

UH last played an official match at home nearly a month ago, on Feb. 8 against UC Irvine — the season’s most well-attended match to this point at 4,837. Since then the Rainbow Warriors swept Stanford twice on the road, and twice beat Nittaidai of Japan in home exhibitions last week.