The University of Hawai’i men’s volleyball team hit the road on Monday en route to Long Beach, California for the NCAA National Championship Tournament.
The Rainbow Warriors who were sent off by fans, the band, and athletic department members earned the top seed in the 2019 National Collegiate Men’s Volleyball Championship, which begins April 25 with the semifinals set for May 2 at the Walter Pyramid.
“I did not expect that many fans. I was expecting a few boosters, a few friends, but the band and all those people, I was like, oh wow it feels like March madness you know. Like I said it’s amazing the support they give. That’s why we here,” said Rado Parapunov.
The Rainbow Warriors will make their sixth NCAA appearance and third under head coach Charlie Wade, who also took UH to the national tournament in 2015 and 2017. Hawai’i have never earned the top seed until this year.
UH will face the winner of fourth-seeded USC of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation and fifth-seeded Lewis of the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association in Thursday’s semifinals. USC and Lewis will meet in one of two opening round matches on Tuesday, April 30.
USC received one of the two at-large berths along with Big West runner-up Long Beach State, who is the No. 2 seed. The 49ers will face the winner of third-seeded Pepperdine, champion of the MPSF and either sixth-seeded Barton, Conference Carolinas champion, or seventh-seeded Princeton, champions of the Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association. The Barton-Princeton opening round match is set for Thursday, April 25 at Barton College.
The finals is scheduled for Saturday, May 4.
UH earned the top seed after capturing the Big West Tournament title with a five-set win over LBSU on Saturday in front of a sold-out Stan Sheriff Center. The Warriors (27-2) avenged two losses to the Beach last week in Long Beach to close out the regular season.