Dimitrios Mouchlias was halfway across the world watching Hawai’i celebrate the NCAA championship last season.
The Greek opposite opted to redshirt the 2021 season that was played in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic and recover from multiple ankle surgeries.
Mouchlias one year later made sure his presence was felt this time in the NCAA Tournament finals.
Mouchlias finished with 11 kills and zero errors on a .500 attack percentage as Hawai’i swept the No. 1 seed Long Beach State 25-22, 25-21, 25-20 on Saturday in Los Angeles to repeat as national champions.
The opposite was one of five Hawai’i starters to finish with more than a .300 attack percentage as the Rainbow Warriors out-hit the Beach .434 to .304.
Outside attacker Spyros Chakas had a team-high 14 kills on a .333 attack percentage en route to being named the NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player. Outside attacker Chaz Galloway added eight kills and hit .312, while middle attacker Guilherme Voss had five kills and zero errors on a .714 attack percentage.
Voss also led all players with five blocks. Hawai’i ended with eight blocks – seven more blocks than Long Beach State.
Long Beach State outside attacker Alex Nikolov had a match-high 20 kills on a .405 attack percentage. This tied for the second-most kills in a three-game NCAA Tournament match during the 25-point rally scoring era.
The Beach had five aces in the loss with Simon Torwie having a match-high three aces.
Setter Jakob Thelle led Hawai’i with two aces and closed out the NCAA Tournament with 10 aces. Thelle earlier in the NCAA Tournament set the school’s single-season record for aces.
Chakas also had an ace to give Hawai’i a three-point lead late in the third game as it went on to complete the sweep.
With the third game tied, Voss blocked Nikolov to give the Rainbow Warriors a 17-16 lead. The match on the following play was delayed for nearly five minutes because of a challenge that Hawai’i won for setter Aidan Knipe being in the net.
Thelle led the offense to a .440 attack percentage in the second game en route to Hawai’i taking a two-game lead. The Beach in that game jumped out to a 10-5 lead, but Hawai’i bounced back with a 5-0 run highlighted by a Thelle ace, three Long Beach State attack errors and Galloway diving into the bench in pursuit of an errant dig to keep a rally alive.
Long Beach State opened the match with an ace from Torwie and then Nikolov added another ace five plays later. However, Hawai’i responded and took a 17-14 lead with a 5-1 run that featured a block and a kill from middle attacker Cole Hogland.
Chakas also delivered the game-winning kill and finished with a game-high six kills as Hawai’i hit .464 in the first game.
This is the second time in the last four years that the Hawai’i and Long Beach State have met in an All-Big West NCAA Tournament finals. Long Beach State defeated Hawai’i in four games to repeat as national champions in 2019.
The Big West has now won every NCAA championship since adding men’s volleyball in 2018.