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Long Beach State edges stubborn Hawaii to continue home domination

Mar. 17—The No. 1 Hawaii men's volleyball team will have a different ranking next week, but gave glimpses of a team that could get back to the top this season.

The No. 1 Hawaii men's volleyball team will have a different ranking next week, but gave glimpses of a team that could get back to the top this season.

The Rainbow Warriors made more than 60 errors, including 26 behind the service line, yet nearly pulled off the unthinkable in a 25-20, 20-25, 25-23, 24-26, 15-13 loss to No. 2 Long Beach State on Saturday at Walter Pyramid in Long Beach, Calif.

Hawaii (17-3, 0-2 Big West ) survived one match point in the fourth set and two more in the fifth set before Long Beach State's Sotiris Siapanis ended the match in 2 hours, 54 minutes when his kill went off the block and down behind the UH back line.

The kill extended Long Beach State's winning streak against Hawaii inside of the Pyramid to 11.

"A head scratcher, " Wade said after the match. "We make less errors (and ) you've got to think it's a different outcome. Certainly a different kind of style, a different way to play for us, but given everything that transpired in the last week and a really good team on the road, I think there was some growth. I think there was some progress for us."

Hawaii played its second match without senior outside hitter Spyros Chakas, who will miss the rest of the season.

UH had only two full practices to prepare to play inside of an arena it hadn't won in against the host school since 2015.

Keoni Thiim, who started in Chakas' place, had a match-high 20 kills in 46 swings with 10 hitting errors and eight service errors.

Freshman Louis Sakanoko came off the bench in the second set and provided a spark with 19 kills and hit.250, but also had nine hitting errors and six service errors.

Hawaii had 32 hitting errors and finished with 22 more kills than the Beach (18-1, 4-0 ). Freshman setter Tread Rosenthal had 57 assists, which was 11 more than the entire Long Beach State team.

"We got better. There ain't no doubt. It's going to take us a while to get back, " Wade said. "There's just a level of chaos and really a ton of errors. It's amazing we were that competitive making those number of errors."

Senior Chaz Galloway started the match and had two kills in the first set before he was subbed out for Sanakoko at the start of the second set. Galloway came back midway through the fifth set with UH trailing 6-3 and had two kills, with his second tying the match at 9-all.

The last tie was at 10-10, with the Beach scoring five of the final eight points. Three of those points came on UH hitting errors.

"It's a great investment in the future of this year and obviously going forward because they both have more eligibility, " Wade said of Thiim and Sakanoko. "Louis kind of settled into his own in that fourth set. It was impressive. There were a number of positives that came out of this match, and certainly those two being out there in prime time was one of them."

Hawaii was outblocked 19-7 and hit.248 to the Beach's.279. UH stayed in the match scrambling on defense with 52 digs. Sakanoko and libero 'Eleu Choy had nine digs apiece.

Long Beach State won the first set hitting.500 with 11 kills. Hawaii gifted the Beach 14 total errors, including eight behind the service line.

Sakanoko sparked Hawaii in the second set with four kills, including one on set point, to help Hawaii tie it at one set apiece.

Sakanoko also delivered an ace after an LBSU service error to put Hawaii ahead 17-15, and it never trailed again in the set.

Hawaii had two key blocks late to pull away and win by five points, matching the score in the first set.

As was the case in the first set, Hawaii was within a point of the Beach when Long Beach State got to 20.

A Sakanoko kill was followed by service errors by both teams to make it 21-all.

UH led 22-21 on a Long Beach State kill, but the Beach closed out the set winning four of the next five points, helped out by two UH attack errors.

Sakanoko had 10 of Hawaii's 21 kills and hit.529 in the fourth set to force UH's third five-set match and second in the past seven days.

It's the first time Hawaii has lost back-to-back matches since losing to the Beach twice in the Pyramid in April 2022.