Rainbow Warriors win Outrigger Invite, set-streak up to 45


HONOLULU – The second-ranked University of Hawai’i men’s volleyball team captured its ninth Outrigger Resorts Invitational title following a straight-set win over No. 6 Pepperdine Saturday on the tournament’s final day at the Stan Sheriff Center. Set scores were 25-18, 25-20, 25-23.
In front of a season-high crowd of 6,074, the Rainbow Warriors (15-0) extended their season-opening win streak to 15 and set win streak to 45 with a dominant performance against one of the nation’s top offensive teams. 
Rado Parapunov, the tournament’s MVP, finished with 13 kills, totaling 38 over the three matches. The Sofia, Bulgaria native also had three aces and three blocks. Outside hitter Stijn van Tilburg became the first player to be named to the all-tournament team four times and led the Warriors with 16 kills, hitting .600.
Also named to the all-tournament team were brothers Joe and Gage WorsleyJoe Worsley dished out 47 assists and had three blocks while Gage Worsley had a career-high 15 digs. Outside hitter Colton Cowellchipped in with 11 kills, hitting .588.
As a team, UH hit .523 with five aces and eight total blocks.
Pepperdine’s Kaleb Denmark had nine kills and Michael Wexter added eight kills and nine digs. Both were selected to the all-tournament team.
Back and forth Set 1 until the Warriors surged ahead 14-9 with a 7-2 run that included a pair of kills each by Cowell and van Tilburg. The lead was 17-10 after the second of two challenge calls went UH’s way. UH maintained its lead through the remainder of the set with consecutive kills by Cowell to end it. 
With Parapunov at the service line in Set 2, the Warriors reeled off five straight for a 9-5 lead including his second and third aces of the match. Cowell’s first ace made it 11-6 but the Waves battled back to within two at 17-15. UH then went on a 5-1 run with two kills each by Joe Worsley and van Tilburg for a 22-16 lead. Just like the first set, Cowell closed out the second with his ninth kill. 
UH jumped out to a 6-3 lead in Set 3 forcing an early Pepperdine timeout. The Warriors led 15-11 at the media timeout before the Waves rallied to tie the score at 17 with a 6-2 run. The score was tied two more times before a Parapunov-Dalton Solbrig stuff gave UH a 21-19 lead. The Waves tied it once more at 22-22 before Parapunov’s 13thkill followed by Solbrig’s solo block made it aloha ball. After a Pepperdine kill, van Tilburg finished off the Waves.
Also named to the all-tourney team was Ball State’s Matt Szews, who had a match-high 20 kills in the Cardinals’ win over King in the day’s earlier match. BSU won in straight sets, 25-22, 25-19, 26-24.
The Warriors return to Big West play by hosting CSUN for a two-match series March 15 and 16 at the Stan Sheriff Center.

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