Hawaii men’s volleyball advances to national title game with sweep over UC Santa Barbara

Sports

Members of the University of Hawaii men’s volleyball team celebrating during its NCAA semifinal game against UCSB (Courtesy Hawaii Athletics).

The University of Hawaii men’s volleyball team advanced to the NCAA championship game with a dominant 25-21, 25-18, 25-23 sweep over UC Santa Barbara in the national semifinals in Columbus, Ohio on Thursday.

The Rainbow Warriors (16-1) await the winner of the second semifinal between Lewis and BYU, which takes place at 2 p.m. HST on Thursday.

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In the first set on Thursday against UCSB, Hawaii fell behind 2-0 as it experienced some early jitters and rust, but stormed back to take the set 25-21 as AVCA Player of the Year Rado Parapunov led the way with six kills on 15 swings with four digs and three blocks.

The Rainbow Warriors took a 4-0 lead to start the second set and didn’t look back, winning the set 25-18.

UCSB took a 12-11 lead in the third set, the tightest of the match, but Hawaii eventually prevailed to complete the sweep.

It was a balanced team effort for UH, as Parapunov had a team-high 12 kills and 11 digs for a double-double. Colton Cowell and Patrick Gasman each added 10 kills, while Gasman had a match-high six blocks. Meanwhile, setter Jakob Thelle had a match-high 31 assists.

Randy DeWeese led UCSB with a match-high 13 kills.

UC Santa Barbara finishes its 2021 season at 16-5, with its 11-game winning streak coming to an end after the loss to UH.

The national championship game will take place at 2 p.m. HST on Saturday and will be televised on ESPNU.

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