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Guilherme Voss insists he would have gotten into the sport anyway, but his volleyball career began as a 10-year-old with a little help from grandma and grandpa.

He was born in Rio de Janeiro, but a job opportunity for his father took the entire Voss family to Texas when he was 6 years old.

When they moved back to Brazil four years later, they needed to fix up the apartment they lived in, so they moved in with his grandparents, who were only a block from the beach.

It was there that Voss would head down to the ocean on a daily basis, and his height made him an easy target to join the local beach volleyball team.

“At one point, the team who practiced right there recruited me to play beach and I played three years of beach (volleyball), which at the time was four-man (teams),” Voss said.

When he lived in Texas, he looked into playing basketball until he found out there was practice on Saturdays and Sundays.

“My dad said no,” Voss said. “(Texas) was a big change of pace from Brazil, but it was good.”

So volleyball it was for Voss, who 14 years after first hitting a ball over a net on the beaches of Brazil will take a few more swings and block a few more balls inside SimpliFi Arena at Stan Sheriff Center.

The 6-foot-7 middle blocker is one of six players who will be honored during senior night festivities on Saturday after No. 5 Hawaii (18-4, 1-3 Big West) closes the home portion of its regular-season schedule against No. 20 UC Santa Barbara (7-14, 0-5).

Voss relied on a friend to help him make the decision to come to UH. At the time, he liked how the weather was similar to how it was back home.

“Saying that it lives up to the expectations is an understatement,” Voss said. “Hawaii is great. Everyone treats me like family. The weather is perfect. There’s literally not a single thing that I could complain about.”

Voss graduated from high school in December 2017 because the school year in Brazil runs from January to December, not fall to spring like in the United States.

He played for the national team following graduation until the summer of 2019, when he decided to attend UH.

He started looking into college too late, which is why he took a year off to play.

Hawaii was “on the bucket list,” but his journey to the islands began with an email to head coach Charlie Wade, who gets his fair share of emails from prospective athletes.

“Most of them you hit delete,” Wade said with a laugh. “He had been researching what schools he wanted to go to in the U.S. He reached out and then when I saw his resume, and he was already part of the national team program in Brazil, which is clearly one of the best countries in the world for volleyball, it was a pretty easy sell on my part.”

Voss said he was welcomed to the team with open arms, but he had no idea just how popular men’s volleyball was in Hawaii.

That became apparent on a hike with Rado Parapunov before he had participated in a single practice at UH.

“I went to do a waterfall hike with Rado and we were mid-hike in the middle of the jungle and he got recognized and asked to sign an autograph and take a picture,” Voss said. “So that very shocking to me to have that happen.”

Getting noticed is a regular thing now for Voss, who has shown his emotional side during past senior night festivities watching some of his teammates and closest friends honored.

He doesn’t expect to have the same reaction on Saturday when it’s his turn to have his moment in front of a full house at the Stan.

“I think that I was more emotional for the other people leaving than I’ll be for myself, but we’ll see how it will turn out,” said Voss, who has tried to take on a more vocal role in practice with Spyros Chakas out for the rest of the season. “There’s still a lot of the season left, but at the end of the day, there has been a lot of history already in this building for all of the seniors.”

Voss has started 111 of the 114 matches he’s appeared in, ranks first all-time in school history with a .516 hitting percentage and is fifth in total blocks with 410.

He was voted first-team All-American last season as a junior after making the second-team as a sophomore. Hawaii is 65-6 in home matches with Voss on the team, and even after he’s gone, he believes the success is here to stay.

“I feel like we were a very talented class that paired up with classes that had already been here and we all stepped it up a level together,” Voss said. “I think that’s happening right now. I don’t think that Hawaii is going to stop losing now that we’re gone. I think that it’s only up from here.”


At SimpliFi Arena at Stan Sheriff Center

NO. 5 HAWAII (18-4, 1-3 BIG WEST) VS. NO. 20 UC SANTA BARBARA (7-14, 0-5)

>> Today and Saturday, 7 p.m.

>> TV: Spectrum Sports

>> Radio: KKEA 1420-AM / 97.5-FM

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