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.