Newcomer Sakanoko powers UH men's volleyball to sweep of Emmanuel

Jan. 11—Related Photo Gallery: Hawaii men's volleyball sweeps Emmanuel

When Louis Sakanoko was introduced making his Hawaii men's volleyball debut to open the second set, it drew quite a loud reaction from the SimpliFi Arena at Stan Sheriff Center crowd.

It turned out the anticipation met the expectation.

Sakanoko, a 6-foot-5 freshman from Paris, France, who joined the team last month, rallied the fourth-ranked Rainbow Warriors with two thunderous aces and a one-handed pass over his head and brought the crowd of 3,498 alive in a 25-10, 25-19, 25-16 sweep of Emmanuel College on Wednesday night.

Sakanoko finished with three of Hawaii's 12 aces, three kills and three digs, but after Hawaii (2-1) dominated the opening set, his presence everywhere on the court helped the Rainbow Warriors come back from a 17-15 deficit in the second set by scoring 10 of the final 12 points.

"I was a little bit nervous at first because the crowd was pretty big, but I like it. This is why I play volleyball every day," Sakanoko said.

Sakanoko and Keoni Thiim, who started the match, played at outside hitter in place of Chaz Galloway, who was a healthy scratch, in UH's first change in the starting lineup this season.

Both played outside in the third set and Thiim finished with a match-high eight kills in 16 swings with his only two errors coming on two swings for match point.

The first ball looked to be in but Hawaii coach Charlie Wade decided not to challenge with UH comfortably ahead.

"I was really confident. I was going to challenge this and we were good, but like everybody on the court was like, 'it's out.'" Thiim said. "I was like "am I delusional?' I really thought it was in."

The result was academic at that point as Emmanuel's 11th service error ended the match in 1 hour, 44 minutes.

It was a nice rebound

from Friday's five-set loss to Loyola Chicago in which UH committed 27 service errors.

UH finished with 10 and 12 aces against the Lions (0-1).

"It was pretty good. We ended up at 85 percent (serving) and that's with a lot of different guys, a lot of new guys getting out that hadn't served," Wade said. "Serving was pretty good. The only concerning part was that second set."

Before Sakanoko rallied Hawaii in the second set, there were nine lead changes and 14 ties. Hawaii trailed 15-14 at the first media timeout and the Lions' first seven points of the match came on UH errors

either hitting or behind the service line.

"At that first timeout we literally had made 11 or 12 errors. That just drives me nuts," Wade said. "They are just unforced errors. That part we have to get better at. If we keep doing that you will lose that set to anybody that is any good at all."

Spyros Chakas added seven kills in the first two sets and middle Guilherme Voss continued his torrid start to the season with six kills in eight swings.

Over his last eight matches, he's hitting more than .800 with 17 kills in 21 swings without an error.

"He's got a pretty big

window," Wade said. "He's easier to set for (freshman setter) Tread (Rosenthal) because they are not all perfect but he's quicker to recognize if it is too low, he can adjust. He's a little more rangy and he's got a little better window and keeps himself off the net a little more to give himself better angles."

The Rainbow Warriors put down their first six kills attempts with Chakas and Voss recording two apiece.

UH forced the Lions to take their first timeout trailing 13-5 after back-to-back blocks and an Alaka'i Todd ace helped a 5-0 run.

Voss finished off the first set with an emphatic kill off the block to give him three kills in three swings and 14 kills in 16 errorless swings in his last six sets played.

Sophomore Oguzhan Oguz made his UH debut to start the third set at opposite with Sakanoko and Thiim both playing outside.

Rosenthal played the whole way and finished with a match-high 23 assists. Hawaii hit .178 for

the match.

The two teams will play again Friday at 7 p.m.