Sloppy ‘Bows: Hawai’i falls to #10 Loyola-Chicago in heart-breaking home loss

BY PAUL BRECHT | HONOLULU
PUBLISHED JAN 5, 2024

HONOLULU — The third-ranked Hawai’i Rainbow Warriors men’s volleyball team (1-1) fell at the hands of the tenth-ranked Loyola-Chicago Ramblers (1-1) in five sets Friday night — 25-18, 22-25, 25-18, 23-25, 13-15 — for the earliest loss under Charlie Wade since 2013. 

Hawai’i worked quickly in the night’s opening frame, jumping out to an early 11-6 lead behind a strong start from sophomore Kurt Nusterer both at the net and behind the service line. The ‘Bows were the first to reach 15 points in the night’s debut set after head coach Charlie Wade challenged an inbounds call and saw the point overturned to push the match into a media timeout with his team leading, 15-11. Hawai’i continued its strong play behind freshman Tread Rosenthal’s all-around game showing itself to fans unfamiliar with the 17-year-old’s game, taking the night’s first set, 25-18, with the help of Rosenthal’s 13 assists. 

Loyola-Chicago fought back in the second set of the evening, taking a five-point lead midway through the frame to subdue the ‘Bows and the crowd at hand, 12-7, and keeping it quiet until Hawai’i’s furious comeback attempt late when UH cut the lead to two multiple times with a 25-22 decision over the hosting Rainbow Warriors. 

Hawai’i responded in expected fashion: a dominant showing in the third set, led by Rosenthal’s continued and rapid development at the service line and couple of aces to make quick work of the Ramblers, 25-18. 

The evening’s fourth set began similar to the third as the teams traded points to 10 before Loyola-Chicago took control of the frame with a 9-2 run. Hawai’i would bring it within one, 24-23, before ultimately succumbing to the Ramblers in the set, 25-23, and go to a decisive fifth frame.  

After a lively crowd finished singing their rendition of “Don’t Stop Believin” – both teams took to the court for a winner-take-all final set. Just as they had all night, the teams opened the frame trading points before Hawai’i forced a Ramblers’ timeout with a 4-1 run, giving the hometown team a 10-7 lead after an Alaka’i Todd ace. 

Hawai’i would take a five-point lead, 12-7, following the timeout but would be held to just one point the rest of the way as the Ramblers came roaring back to take the fifth set, 15-13, and hand Hawai’i its earliest non-exhibition loss under Charlie Wade since 2013. 

The ‘Bows return to action next Wednesday when they host Emmanuel for a two-game series inside the Stan Sheriff Center, looking to bounce back from a sloppy Friday night that saw 27 service errors across the five sets. 

PHOTOS BY MICHAEL LASQUERO