The University of Hawai’i men’s volleyball team let a 2-0 lead disappear in a five-set loss to No. 4 Long Beach State, Wednesday, in its Mountain Pacific Sports Federation opener at The Pyramid. Set scores were 23-25, 21-25, 25-23, 33-31, 15-10.
The fifth-ranked Rainbow Warriors (5-1, 0-1 MPSF) suffered their first loss of the season after five straight wins to start the season while the Beach improved to 5-1 and 2-1 in league play. The teams play again in the rematch on Friday at 7:00 p.m. PT (5:00 p.m. HT).
UH was led by freshman Rado Parapunov, who made his first start of the season and finished with 23 kills, hitting .298, and five blocks. Freshman Austin Matautia added 16 kills and nine blocks and fellow frosh Patrick Gasman tallied 12 kills and five blocks. Libero Larry Tuileta posted his second double-figure dig total of the season with 12 while senior Hendrik Mol tied his career-high with nine kills along with five blocks.
LBSU’s Kyle Ensing led all attackers with 24 kills (.404) while TJ DeFalco added 22 kills. The 49ers hit a combined .429 in the final three sets.
After taking the first two sets, the Warriors were seemingly in control of the match. Despite letting Set 3 slip away, UH held leads of 11-6 and 19-17 in an epic Set 4 that saw the Beach hold off three match points. On the other end, the Warriors held off five set points until LBSU scored the final three on back-to-back hitting errors by Parapunov.
The Beach seized control of Set 5 with an early 8-4 lead and Hawai’i never threatened.