Jakob Thelle embracing leadership role for No. 1 Hawaii men’s volleyball team ahead of Wednesday season opener

Sports

Hawaii’s Jakob Thelle sets during the team’s semifinal against UC Santa Barbara the NCAA men’s college volleyball tournament Thursday, May 6, 2021, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)

Before the No. 1 University of Hawaii men’s volleyball team opens its 2022 season against No. 7 Loyola-Chicago at SimpliFi Arena at Stan Sheriff Center on Wednesday night, the Rainbow Warriors will pay homage to the 2021 team by having a national championship banner raised in the arena rafters.

The ceremony will feature Colton Cowell, one of the senior leaders of the 2021 team. Cowell is one of a handful of losses from last year’s team, which also include libero Gage Worsley, middle blocker Patrick Gasman and AVCA Player of the Year Rado Parapunov.

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Despite the departures, the ‘Bows return plenty of talent and look primed for a repeat run, as evidenced by their top spot in the preseason rankings. Outside hitter Chaz Galloway is back after emerging as one of the team’s top attackers to end the championship season and is still an underclassman. Greece native Dimitrios Mouchalis is back after missing 2021 with an ankle injury. Additionally, middle blocker/opposite and Punahou alum Alaka’i Todd has potential to be the team’s breakout star.

Leading the charge in the early going is returning starting setter Jakob Thelle, who aims to take on more of a leadership role heading into his junior season.

“The older guys have been here for so long and they have a good point of what Hawaii is and I want to do things in Hawaii men’s volleyball so I think definitely it’s passing on the culture that Rado, Gage, Patrick, Colton, and also Jackson (Van Eekeren) had in the gym is something that I also want to try and encourage the other guys to keep going with the culture because that’s something really special to this team,” Thelle said.

The 2022 team will also feature a pair of graduate transfers in former Stanford middle blocker Kyler Presho and former Grand Canyon libero and Kamehameha-Hawaii alum Avery Enriques. Presho and Enriques are also the team’s only seniors.

Wednesday’s match against the Ramblers is the start of a full slate that will feature 17 nonconference matches for the ‘Bows. In 2021, due to COVID-19 restrictions, UH did not play a single opponent outside of the Big West Conference until its final match against BYU. Fans will be back in the Stan after not being permitted in 2021. Hawaii is also slated to host the Big West Tournament from April 21-23, a tournament that resulted in a loss to UC San Diego, which proved to be its only blemish of the 2021 season.

For a look at the 2022 University of Hawaii men’s volleyball roster, click here.

Individual match tickets may be purchased at www.etickethawaii.com or at the SimpliFi Arena at Stan Sheriff Center Box Office (Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.).
 
Link to purchase online: https://bit.ly/3EIRMUq (sale begins Jan. 3 at 9:00 a.m.)
 
2022 UH Men’s Volleyball Individual Match Ticket Prices:    
Lower Level: Sections A,B,C,D,AA,EE,FF,GG,HH,JJ – $22
 
Lower Level: Sections E,BB,CC,DD 
        Adult – $19
        Senior citizen (65 and over) – $15
        Student (ages 4-high school) – $9
 
Upper Level: All Sections
        Adult – $17
        Senior citizen (65 and over) – $10
        Student (Ages 4 – High School) – $5

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