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Dave Reardon: Hawaii men's volleyball seniors got the send-off they deserved

Mar. 31—There was going to be a party win or lose Saturday at Stan's place, and nearly 9, 000 of the University of Hawaii men's volleyball team's closest friends came to fill the house.

There was going to be a party win or lose Saturday at Stan's place, and nearly 9, 000 of the University of Hawaii men's volleyball team's closest friends came to fill the house.

This was senior night for a significant chunk of the Rainbow Warrior squads that appeared in three national championship matches, winning two of them.

Six players—including some very important cogs of the dynasty that has now won 108 matches and lost just 14 since 2020—were celebrated after UH's five-set victory over the gritty Gauchos of UC Santa Barbara.

Coach Charlie Wade had to be gratified that these players got the send-off they deserve, full of lei, cheers and tears, and the usual promises of eternal aloha and proclamations of mutual gratitude and respect.

These players were among those who helped us all through the pandemic, even though most could only watch them on TV.

And with their championships they helped us forget about difficulties in other sports.—RELATED :

But this was one of those senior farewells like we used to see a lot when the Wahine ended dominant regular seasons and then hosted NCAA Tournament matches. We've also witnessed it quite a few times in football since the advent of the Hawaii Bowl.

The really cool thing about it ?

They'll be back—soon.

This was their last regular-season home match. But, on April 18, after finishing the regular season with four matches on the road, the Warriors host the Big West Tournament. SimpliFi Arena at Stan Sheriff Center will be jam-packed again.

You get a hana hou without flashing the light on your phone. Or, like in the old days, when you got an encore by risking burning your thumb on a lighter.

The Warriors will need that homecourt advantage.

This is not the same team it was before Spyros Chakas was lost for the season with a knee injury March 10.

But UH appears to be adjusting to life without the Most Outstanding Player of the 2022 National Championship victory, a mainstay in the other NC years, and the captain of this squad.

Before the two matches against UCSB, the Warriors were 1-3 without Chakas. They are now 3-3, following a sweep Friday, and what looked like was going to be another one Saturday, except that the Gauchos refused to go down easy.

Chakas was one of the seniors recognized after Saturday's match—he received the biggest ovations when announced before and after. It was bittersweet for all, his smile a reminder of the glorious victories, but his crutches a reminder that the dynasty might be over prematurely.

But not if some of the other seniors can help it.

Guilherme Voss was the boss in the middle Saturday, like he has been so many times before, with an errorless assault on the overmatched UCSB frontline. Chaz Galloway led the way Friday night with 10 kills, and it was Alaka 'i Todd's turn Saturday with 12 to co-lead with Voss, who also was in on six of UH's 18.5 team blocks.

They will be back.

Saturday was not goodbye.

It was see you again, soon.

And that's when we will learn if the dynasty is over or still has a chance to live on. If not, Voss sees no reason why another one can't get going soon.

"I hope the future teams ... win four or five in a row, " he said in a TV interview after Friday's match. "Win four in a row, five in a row. Be the future UCLA."