Sotiris Siapanis as soon as the ball hit the ground for the match-point against No. 1/2 Hawai’i ran over to give head coach Alan Knipe a hug.
It was a fitting response to a monumental win – and possibly even more monumental of a moment for Siapanis.
The last 15 months had been anything but ordinary for Siapanis, whether it was missing all of last season with an injury or transferring from Ohio State to Long Beach State in the offseason.
The performance from the outside attacker against the defending NCAA champions on Friday also was anything but ordinary.
Siapanis led all players with a season-high 19 kills on a .531 attack percentage as No. 4/4 Long Beach State swept Hawai’i 25-20, 29-27, 25-20 in front of a road crowd of 7,527 people.
This was the third time this season that Siapanis hit more than .500 in a match. It also was the fourth consecutive match that the former Freshman All-American had double-digit kills.
Setter Aidan Knipe had 43 assists and guided the offense to out-hit Hawai’i .484 to .303. In addition, the Beach (12-2, 3-0 Big West) committed a combined three errors in the first two games and hit more than .500 in each of those games.
Along with Siapanis, outside attacker Spencer Olivier had 13 kills and one error on a .500 attack percentage.
Both of Long Beach State’s middle attackers did not commit an error in the team’s sixth straight victory. Simon Torwie had eight kills on a .727 attack percentage, while Shane Holdaway contributed seven kills and hit a team-best .778.
Torwie also had a match-high four blocks and helped Long Beach State finish with 7.5 blocks – four more blocks than Hawai’i.
Opposite attacker Dimintrio Mouchlias led Hawai’i with 15 kills on a .312 attack percentage in the opener of the two-match series. Outside attacker Chaz Galloway also had 10 kills and hit .381.
All-American outside attacker Spyros Chakas, who was limited in practice for Hawai’i this week, was held to seven kills and a negative-.045 attack percentage.
The Rainbow Warriors (17-2, 0-1 Big West) overcame a six-point deficit to the third game at 18-18. Siapnis, though, responded with a kill that started a 3-0 run and gave the Beach a lead it would not relinquish.
Hawai’i trailed midway through the second before a Chakas kill and an ace on back-to-back plays jump started a 3-0 run to give the Rainbow Warriors a 17-16 lead. Long Beach State rallied and fought off a game-point to force overtime.
The Beach extended the overtime after successfully challenging a game-point attack error that was reversed to a touch off of Hawai’i. Long Beach State fought off two more game-points in overtime before taking the lead on a Chakas attack error and then Holdaway having a game-winning ace.
Long Beach State in tts opening-game five-point win committed one attack error and hit .500. The Beach closed out the game on an 8-4 run that featured three kills from Siapanis.
This is the first time Hawai’i has been swept at home since 2020 and the first time it has been swept at home in conference play since 2016.
The Beach with this win remain one of two undefeated teams in Big West play. No. 6/6 UC Irvine (15-6, 5-0 Big West) swept UC Santa Barbara on Friday to remain in first place halfway through its conference schedule.