Outside attacker Spyros Chakas on the night when No. 1 Hawai’i unveiled its newest championship banner showed exactly why he was the reigning NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player.
Chakas finished with a match-high 22 kills on a .581 attack percentage as Hawai’i defeated No. 6 Ball State 23-25, 25-23, 25-18, 25-18 on Friday in Honolulu.
This was the fourth consecutive career match against Ball State that Chakas had at least 15 kills. Chakas finished with 19 kills in the NCAA Tournament semifinals win versus Ball State last season and then had 19 kills again and hit .405 in the season opener on Thursday.
The two-time defending NCAA champions out-hit Ball State .439 to .295 and had three players finish with double-digit kills en route to completing the two-match series sweep.
Along with Chakas, outside attacker Chaz Galloway had 12 kills on a .364 attack percentage. Opposite Dimitrios Mouchlias contributed 13 kills and hit .455 against the Cardinals.
Mouchlias also had a career-high six aces with all of those aces coming in the third and fourth games.
Hawai’i won the non-conference match despite committing 23 service errors – seven more service errors than Ball State.
All-American outside attacker Kaleb Jenness in the loss led the defending MIVA champions with 15 kills. In addition, first-year starter and offseason NAIA transfer Tinais Ndavazocheva added 11 kills on a .375 attack percentage.
Ball State out-blocked Hawai’i 7 to 5 with middle attacker Vanis Buckholz having a match-high five blocks.
Hawai’i libero Brett Sheward defensively led all players with a career-high 17 digs.
The Rainbow Warriors limited the Cardinals to less than a .175 attack percentage in each of the final two games, including match-low .143 in the fourth game.
Hawai’i in the fourth game hit a match-best .591. Chakas also had a game-high six kills, including three kills as part of a 7-3 run to help the Rainbow Warriors extend their lead midway through the final game.
Mouchlias had two aces as part of a 6-0 run early in the third game. The All-American opposite then later in that game added back-to-back aces to help the Rainbow Warriors take a one-game lead.
Hawai’i in the second game trailed 11-10 before going on a 4-1 run to take a lead that it would not relinquish. Chakas had a game-high six kills, including the game-winning kill on the Rainbow Warriors’ third game-point opportunity to avoid an overtime.
Despite the second-game loss, Ball State hit a team-best .500 attack percentage.
Ball State led by as many as six points and committed one attack error in its opening-game win. Hawai’i in that game committed nine service errors and the Ball State defense helped force five Rainbow Warriors attack errors.
Hawai’i with this win improves to 51-2 in home matches since the 2019 season.