Jakob Thelle on a night when No. 1/1 Hawai’i players received their 2022 NCAA championship rings showed exactly why the Rainbow Warriors are more than capable of earning another championship ring at the end of this season.
The setter had a match-high four aces and led Hawai’i to a .405 attack percentage as the defending national champions swept No. 7/7 Pepperdine 25-19, 25-18, 25-21 on Friday in Honolulu.
The Rainbow Warriors hit at least .500 in two of the three games en route to completing the two-match non-conference series sweep. Hawai’i (14-0, 0-0 Big West) with this win also remains the only undefeated team in the nation.
Outside attacker Spyros Chakas led all players with 15 kills on a .591 attack percentage. The All-American playing in front of a home crowd of 7,452 people had a game-high six kills in the final game to help secure the win before a postmatch ceremony that celebrated the 2022 championship team.
Chakas was one of three Rainbow Warrior starters to hit more than .500 against the Waves (10-8, 2-2 MPSF).
Middle attacker Cole Hogland had six kills and zero errors on a perfect 1.000 attack percentage. In addition, middle attacker Guilhereme Voss contributed six kills and hit .556.
Hawai’i limited Pepperdine to a .260 attack percentage. It also had more than doubled the amount of blocks from the Waves – 11 to 6.
Voss led all players with eight blocks, while opposite Dimitrio Mouchlias contributed five blocks.
Pepperdine opposite Jaylen Jasper in the loss finished with a team-high 11 kills and hit .227. Jasper entered this match having at least 20 kills in five consecutive matches, including 26 kills on a .468 attack percentage in a four-game loss to Hawai’i on Wednesday.
Jasper early in the third game had a kill to give the Waves the lead. The Rainbow Warriors trailed by two points midway through the third game but responded with an 8-2 run that was capped off with a Thelle ace and a Voss kill.
Chakas led all players with five kills in the second game, including two kills as part of a 5-2 run to close out the game. In addition, Chakas had two consecutive aces and a kill during a 6-2 run to open the game.
Hawai’i and Pepperdine were tied 10-10 in the opening game before the Rainbow Warriors went on a 4-0 run highlighted with back-to-back aces from Thelle. The All-American setter also guided Hawai’i to a match-best .524 attack percentage in the opening-game win.
This was the sixth time this season the Rainbow Warriors have defeated a top-10 nationally ranked team.