One day after a four set loss to Long Beach State in the NCAA National Championship match, the University of Hawaii men’s volleyball team returned home to the islands on Sunday serving as the emotional final aloha for the class of 2019.
Although returning with one less carry-on than they were hoping, the Rainbow Warriors held their heads high after completing one of the most prolific seasons in school history.
Capturing the proud program’s first ever conference championship, the Rainbows also set an NCAA record with 74-consecutive set victories headlined by a senior group that recorded 90 career wins, the most by a single Warrior class, all-time.
The four Hawaii seniors are Stijn Van Tilburg, Dalton Solbrig, Joe Worsley, and Brett Rosenmeier.
Perhaps the most memorable of the bunch will be three-time first team All-American Van Tilburg of the Netherlands. The fan-favorite and vocal leader of the Rainbow Warriors will leave Hawaii to join the dutch national team next week.
“This is home and I’m going to leave all these guys, it’s just so special and I don’t think anybody could take that away from us and it’s just so special and I’m going to miss it,” said Van Tilburg. “These guys mean everything to us and hopefully we’ll see them for the rest of our lives and it’s just so special. I think that’s, you’re never going to get that anywhere else in the world.”
Van Tilbug says he is confident that as he leaves the program, the Rainbow Warriors are set to continue celebrated success with players such as Rado Parapunov, Colton Cowell, Gage Worsley, and Patrick Gasman returning in 2020.
“These guys are amazing. I hope I’ve inspired them just like the older guys have inspired us and I hope to come back next year just like the older guys and watch these young guys win a national championship,” said Van Tilburg.
“The message for these seniors are that in order to honor their legacy, they want us to work harder upon the standard that they set. Get into the weight room even more, work harder in the classroom, be better in the community and of course excel on the volleyball court. Represent them well, especially with them going off to their international careers,” said Cowell.