How Hawaii secured the NCAA Men's Volleyball title
In one of the best runs for a volleyball team, the University of Hawaii finally won the NCAA men’s event by beating Brigham Young University in the final. The Rainbow Warriors played their hearts out against a BYU team that has constantly beat them over the past few years.
This was Hawaii’s first title in the tournament even though they’ve been at the top tier before. On the other side, this was a big loss for BYU as they wanted to make sure that they finally win another title. That was not the case as the Cougars fell to number one seed Hawaii in straight sets.
The game was never that competitive as Hawaii made sure to dominate on both ends of the floor. Both their defence and offence were strong. This was a good game from the Rainbow Warriors given that BYU beat them in 2020 in one of the worst games for a number one-seeded Hawaii.
Another collapse for BYU
BYU struggled again even if they looked like the best team in the NCAA earlier. They wanted to compete but the fact that it wasn’t close hurt even more. BYU coach Shawn Olmstead talked about what the loss meant to the team and what the feeling was in the locker room.
He said that it was hard to pinpoint the reason behind the loss. The locker room had a bad atmosphere as they felt hurt. This was the fourth time that BYU lost in the finals in the past decade which is evidently heavy on the team.
BYU setter Wil Stanley talked about the loss to Hawaii which is a team that is in his native Honolulu.
‘I mean, I really think they just outplayed us. They served well, they passed well’, Stanley said. ‘They were getting balls up all over the court. Just hats off to those guys. They took care of business. We tried to do what we could. We played our game as well. They just had a better night tonight’.
Why Hawaii’s win means so much
When they returned home to Hawaii, the team was honoured by Governor David Ige and Honolulu mayor Rick Blangiardi. The team took a trolley ride downtown so that the city can honour them by bringing joy to the islands during a rough period.
Blangiardi was the most vocal about how much this means to Hawaii.
‘I officially declare today Rainbow Warriors, I want to say men’s volleyball week, month or whatever, but it’s University of Hawaii men’s volleyball day’, he said. ‘You guys delivered, you guys did it big time. At a time where our community, our state really needed it and what an uplifting time— and they did it against BYU!’.
It will be interesting to see how the 2022 season will play out given that Hawaii still has a rock-solid volleyball squad.
Words: Cholo Martin