Hawaii is ready for Big West Men's Volleyball Championship

Apr. 18—Hawaii's Guilherme Voss has been tested on a volleyball court more this season than any other he has played.

Hawaii's Guilherme Voss has been tested on a volleyball court more this season than any other he has played.

The 6-foot-7 senior middle blocker was rewarded with his third All-Big West Conference selection as one of two Rainbow Warriors selected to the 14-player first team released on Wednesday.

UH freshman Tread Rosenthal was one of four setters selected to the first team and earned All-Big West Freshman Team honors with Hawaii opposite Louis Sakanoko.

Voss, who is UH's career hitting percentage leader with a.518 clip, suffered through more Big West losses in the regular season (five ) than in his entire career coming into his final year as a fifth-year senior.

On the eve of the start of the Outrigger Big West Men's Volleyball Championship at SimpliFi Arena at Stan Sheriff Center, Voss admitted it has been a grind and a real test just to get to this point as the No. 3 seed in the tournament opening with No. 6 seed UC Santa Barbara tonight at 7 p.m.

"This one more than any other has just been more about grit and battling and just really putting your effort out there rather than just straight up talent or how it would naturally come for us, " Voss said Wednesday.

It has felt like a battle on a daily basis in the gym for the Rainbow Warriors, who are trying to return to play in the NCAA Tournament for a fifth straight time.

Voss has never not made the NCAA final since he arrived to UH and first played in the COVID-19 shortened 2020 season. UH won national titles the next two years and made it to the final last season before losing to UCLA.

UH looked poised to get back there again, earning a No. 1 ranking midway through the season until Spyros Chakas' injury changed everything.

Trying to find the positives out of a tough situation, Voss did point out it has felt like postseason volleyball in every match since, and they should be ready for this week's win-or-go-home tournament.

"Come this time of year, a lot of teams, as (Hawaii coach ) Charlie (Wade ) would say, reflect on their own mortality, " Voss said. "I feel like we've been facing that for the entire year."

Voss has said he has tried to provide a leading voice in practice to get the best out of his teammates heading into the final month of the season.

UH owns a road win over No. 2 seed UC Irvine and took No. 1 seed Long Beach State to five sets inside the Pyramid in Long Beach, Calif., since losing Chakas to injury.

It has also lost matches to No. 4 seed UC San Diego and No. 5 seed Cal State Northridge.

With the Anteaters and the Beach splitting their final two matches of the season against each other, with both winning in three sets, it makes for a possibly wide open BWC tournament that any team could pull out.

"It certainly wouldn't surprise you, " Wade said Tuesday.

Here's a look at the six teams participating in the tournament :

No. 1 Long Beach State (23-2 overall, 9-1 BIG WEST )

AVCA rank : 2 ; KPI rank : 3 ; RPI rank : 3 All-BWC players : L Mason Briggs, Sr.; S Aidan Knipe, Sr.; OH Sotiris Siapanis, So.; MB Simon Torwie, Jr.

Head coach : Alan Knipe, 21st season (415-167, .713 )

Notes : Long Beach State has combined with Hawaii to win four of the last five national championships after going back-to-back in 2018 and'19 ... LBSU won 12 consecutive sets after going five with Hawaii ... Torwie leads the nation averaging 1.34 blocks pet set for LBSU, which as a team leads the nation in blocks per set at 3.3.

No. 2 UC Irvine (18-9, 7-3 )

AVCA rank : 4 ; KPI rank : 4 ; RPI rank : 4 All-BWC players : MB Max Grigoriev, So.; OH Hilir Henno, Jr.; L Cole Power, Sr.; S Brett Sheward, Sr.

Head coach : David Kniffin, 11th season (199-128, .609 )

Notes : The Anteaters are 1-2 against Hawaii this season with both teams winning six sets apiece ... Former UH libero /setter Brett Steward ranks second in the country with 10.64 assists per set ... UC Irvine leads the Big West in assists per set at 9.23 ... UCI owns five wins over Top 5 opponents and 14 against ranked teams.

No. 3 Hawaii (22-6, 5-5 )

AVCA rank : 5 ; KPI rank : 6 ; RPI rank : 8 All-BWC players : S Tread Rosenthal, Fr.; MB Guilherme Voss, Sr.

Head coach : Charlie Wade, 15th season (291-124, .701 )

Notes : Hawaii dipped to second in the nation in aces per set at 2.07 after leading the entire season ... UH has been ranked No. 1 at least once this year to become the only team to do that in six straight seasons ... Hawaii ranks third in the country in hitting percentage (.352 ), sixth in blocks per set (2.48 ) and seventh in assists per set (11.85 ).

No. 4 UC San Diego (12-14, 4-6 )

AVCA rank : 20 ; KPI rank : 23 ; RPI rank : 19 All-BWC players : OPP Anthony Cherfan, Jr.

Head coach : Brad Rostratter, second season (20-31, .392 )

Notes : The Tritons have defeated the Rainbow Warriors three times in the last four seasons, including upsetting the eventual national champions in five sets in the Big West tournament semifinals in 2021 ... UCSD ranks 16th in the country in blocks per set at 2.2 ... The Tritons are 5-8 away from home and 1-7 in true road games.

No. 5 CSUN (12-15, 3-7 )

AVCA rank : 14 ; KPI rank : 26 ; RPI rank : 24 All-BWC players : S Donovan Constable, Jr.; OH Kyle Hobus, Sr.

Head coach : Theo Edwards, second season (24-31, .436 )

Notes : The Matadors' lone win in the BWC tournament was in 2019 against UC Santa Barbara and it is their only victory in a conference tournament since 2010 as a member of the MPSF ... Hobus needs 18 kills to become the first CSUN player to reach 400 in a season in 14 years ... CSUN is second in the BWC with 176 aces.

No. 6 UC Santa Barbara (9-17, 2-8 )

AVCA rank : RV ; KPI rank : 25 ; RPI rank : 25 All-BWC players : OPP Geste Bianchi, Jr.

Head coach : Rick McLaughlin, 16th season (221-203, .521 )

Notes : The Gauchos lost their first seven conference matches before scoring back-to-back wins against UC San Diego and CSUN ... Bianchi has more than doubled the next highest Gauchos in kills with 444 this season for an average of 4.77 per set, which leads the nation ahead of UCI's Henno at 4.72 ... UCSB won the BWC tournament in 2021.

Outrigger Big West Men's Volleyball Championship At SimpliFi Arena at Stan Sheriff Center Today—No. 4 UC San Diego vs. No. 5 Cal State Northridge, 4 :30 p.m.—No. 3 Hawaii vs. No. 6 UC Santa Barbara, 7 p.m.

Friday—No. 1 Long Beach State vs. UCSD /CSUN winner, 4 :30 p.m.—No. 2 UC Irvine vs. UH /UCSB winner, 7 p.m.

Saturday—Championship, 7 p.m.—TV : Spectrum Sports (All games )—Radio : KKEA 1420-AM / 92.7 FM (UH only )