HONOLULU (KHON2) - The third-ranked University of Hawaii beach volleyball team (32-3) celebrated Senior Sunday with a double-header sweep against Arizona State and Boise State, extending its record win streak to 27 matches.
Fifth-year team leader Hannah Zalopany was among the six seniors showered with aloha at the Clarence T.C. Ching Athletic Complex.
The Washington native, affectionately known as Zap, has dug into her father's Hawaii roots, and has done so with her family supporting her and the team from all angles at all times.
"It's super special, you know, being able to have your family around, and I'm fortunate enough to have a pretty good chunk of my family here, and of course my family that follows me on the road too," Zalopany told KHON2 Sports Director Rob DeMello. "Even though they're up there, they are still supporting me 110 percent of the time."
The Zalopany family is an "Army of Aloha," and has become a staple at the Lower Campus cabana with her father, Leonard, often greeting fans at the gate as they walk into the stadium.
Zalopany's young nephew, Alakai, has become somewhat of a team mascot for the Lady 'Bows, and often finds himself on the Beach 'Bows bench during matches.
"My dad is at practice every day in his same spot, and then my brothers also support me from the beginning, and my little guy, we call him Mr. Squishy, but his name is Alakai. He's always around, so it's so nice to be able to have my family out here supporting me on this night and I just feel so blessed," Zalopany said.
Zalopany's mother, Lisa, still resides in Washington and travels to many road matches.
Up next for the Rainbow Wahine will be the Big West Conference Tournament, which is set for April 27-29 at Queen's Beach in Waikiki.
"That's the sweet part of the bittersweet," Zalopany said. "We know that we have a big competition coming up in two weeks with the Big West Tournament. It's very, very nice knowing that we have still some more games, and so it's truly a blessing to be here and be out here. I love it and I can't wait to get back to work this week so we can start preparing for our next few tournaments."
With two different partners this season, Paige Dreeuws and Hiilawe Huddleston, Zalopany has gone a combined 26-6 and has won 11 straight matches.
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