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Not even halfway through Big West play and knowing the Hawaii men’s volleyball team will play again at home this season, this weekend’s senior night festivities feel a little too soon.

Nonetheless, the emotion will be there as six seniors will be honored after Saturday night’s regular-season home finale against No. 20 UC Santa Barbara.

It comes at a crucial point of the season for the fifth-ranked Rainbow Warriors (18-4, 1-3 Big West), who continue their pursuit of getting back to the NCAA Championships without Spyros Chakas, who will be among those celebrated on senior night.

Coming off a tough four-set loss to Cal State Northridge on Saturday, the team hadn’t had a chance yet to get caught up in what always is a special moment of every season. Instead, it’s been trying to turn around a 1-3 record since Chakas went down with a season- ending injury.

“I haven’t really touched in with the emotions just yet because we have a job to do, we’ve got a game to play,” senior outside hitter Chaz Galloway said. “I’m sure the emotions will come after we play. I’m sure it will be a special moment. It won’t be the last time I play in the Stan, but it might feel like that on Saturday.”

Galloway, one of two fifth-year seniors with Guilherme Voss, in closing in on 100 career matches played.

None may be as important as the ones coming up as he, along with freshman Louis Sakanoko, have to come up big on the outside if UH is to continue its season past the Big West Tournament, April 18-20, at SimpliFi Arena at Stan Sheriff Center.

“We still need to add in some other spices, some other flavors in there, to get the recipe down with this group, but I know that that we will in these next couple of weeks to figure it out. We always do around this time,” Galloway said. “I think it’s just a lot of us working together. We have the pieces, we have to players, we all know how to play volleyball, but it’s just how are we going to play together out there on the court is the big part right now.”

Galloway and Voss joined a UH team in 2020 that already had another player who will be honored Saturday on the roster.

Sixth-year Alaka’i Todd has had multiple opportunities to leave for another program for more playing time, but has stuck it out to be a focal point of this year’s team at opposite hitter.

Like everyone else, he was focused in Tuesday on trying to get better and get UH back on the winning track to really talk about the importance of what Saturday night will mean to him personally.

“The emotions will be there. As far as now, we’re so focused on fixing the things that we didn’t do so well inside of the past game that I don’t think they’ve really hit yet, haven’t really set in,” Todd said. “I’m sure by that senior night game, once that final ball goes down, emotions will hit pretty hard. It’s been a long journey here.”

Todd has recorded double-figure kills in a career- best six straight matches with 16 coming in a five-set loss to No. 1 Long Beach State.

Head coach Charlie Wade went with Galloway and Sakanoko at outside hitter in both matches in last week’s split against CSUN, which ended a nine-match losing streak to the ‘Bows.

The main focus for this week of practice is cutting down on the number of errors, especially the ones that have come in late-set situations.

“The energy level is really high today. We’ve identified a few things, specifically, that can correlate to us winning more sets and winning more matches,” Wade said. “We’ve prided ourselves on being one of the most efficient teams. We’ve gone from making about seven-and-a-half errors a set to 11 … if we can carve a few of those back, if we can get it to eight-and-a-half or even nine, you’re one of the best teams in the country and we think that’s well within our capability.”

Hawaii will also honor graduate transfer Kevin Kauling and Austin Buchanan on Saturday.

UH dropped outside of the top four in the AVCA rankings this week for the first time since the final poll of the 2018 season, which is before any of the current senior class were on the roster.

Hawaii has won 16 straight matches against the Gauchos dating back to 2016.

UCSB setter Jack Walmer, who averages 8.72 assists per set, played for two years at Hawaii. He redshirted the 2021 season and recorded 89 assists and six aces in 27 sets with two starts in 2022.

Rainbow Warrior Volleyball

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)

Friday and Saturday, 7 p.m.

TV: Spectrum Sports

Radio: KKEA 1420-AM / 97.5-FM

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