Rainbow Warrior volleyball: ‘Set-back’ elicits response

Fans stood and clapped for the Rainbow Warriors after UC Santa Barbara snapped the Bows' record set streak at 74 on Saturday's senior night. / Photo by Cindy Ellen Russell, Star-Advertiser

The Rainbow Warrior volleyball team’s “set-back” was no setback at all.

It was probably inevitable that this top-ranked UH team, as good as it is in all facets, was going to drop a frame to someone at some point. And the capacity UH crowd recognized it, giving the ‘Bows a standing ovation between the third and fourth sets of a 25-16, 25-21, 23-25, 25-19 win over the UC Santa Barbara on Saturday.

“You don’t go in expecting you’ll beat everybody 3-0,” coach Charlie Wade said. “Proud of how the guys responded, clearly, and glad to get the win.”

UH trailed by as many as six points in the third — for the last time at 22-16 — then rallied ferociously to have the set come down to an officials review to uphold the winning UCSB point or send it to extras. It was the former, and the sellout white-out crowd was momentarily taken aback. They … lost one?

The fourth set. It was a concept as foreign to this all-for-one team as a scowl at a teammate on a busted play.

Until Saturday, it was an open question as the set streak began to build and build since January: What would happen when UH dropped a set, especially if it happened for the first time against a top-tier opponent like Long Beach State or UCSB? It reached an unfathomable 74 after a convincing ‘Bows run to close the second.

Well, UCSB put everything together in the third, hitting .600 to UH’s still-stellar .476.

Wade, who has pointed out that his players know the feeling of losing a set from practice, now knows what will happen when under the bright lights when things get extended.

“For sure,” Wade said. “This group has played with a lot of confidence. We know we’re good, we’ve got a lot of weapons and can win in different ways. But, having not lost one before, it was good to see the response. Because we had talked about it a little, bit, like ‘OK, what’s going to happen?’ You know. And obviously the guys responded in a very, very positive way.”

Libero Gage Worsley was particularly dialed in — engaged, if you will — in the fourth. Some stellar digs during the first few points set the tone for what quickly became a 10-3 lead. The sophomore finished with a match-high 11 digs.

Here’s what he had to say on the night’s moment of truth:

Once business was concluded, seniors Brett Rosenmeier (who received a starting nod on Saturday), Dalton Solbrig, Joe Worsley and Stijn van Tilburg could be honored full-throatedly by the fans who remained (which was nearly all of them).

Joe Worsley could appreciate his brother’s impact on the game at a moment as crucial as the one UH faced coming out for Set 4.

“He comes through and he’ll be the guy to push us and drive us and take it to the next level,” the setter said. “So we counted on that, for sure.”

Colton Cowell, who gave way to Rosenmeier for most of the first three sets, came on in relief and helped close the deal with four kills, two digs and two blocks.

UH now readies for its biggest test yet, a pair of matches at No. 2 Long Beach State (23-1, 8-0) next Friday and Saturday televised on ESPN3 and Spectrum Sports, respectively.

The set streak is one — and counting.


Here’s some clips from the senior ceremony.

Hawaii outside hitter Brett Rosenmeier (3), setter Joe Worsley (1), middle blocker Dalton Solbrig (11) and outside hitter Stijn van Tilburg (4) posed for a group photo during senior ceremonies. / Photo by Cindy Ellen Russell, Star-Advertiser
Stijn van Tilburg ran through a tunnel of teammates during the senior ceremony. / Photo by Cindy Ellen Russell, Star-Advertiser


  1. iGrokSpock April 7, 2019 2:32 pm

    Congrats and thanks to the seniors. Happy hunting at LBSU.

  2. Chicken Grease April 7, 2019 6:23 pm

    People need to relax. Thinning out the blood is needed sometimes. Can’t be eating foie gras as every meal.

    This is STILL a # 1 team.

  3. amela April 7, 2019 10:21 pm

    Losing a set is good for them. At least they didn’t panic.

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