Series Preview: Top ranked Rainbow Warriors look to close out regular season with unprecedented perfection

Sports

2021 UH Men’s Volleyball Seniors – James Anastassiades, Rado Parapunov, Patrick Gasman, Jackson Van Eekeren, Colton Cowell, and Gage Worsley

The University of Hawai’i men’s volleyball team will look to finish the regular season with a perfect record when it hosts UC Irvine for a two-match Big West Conference series, Friday, April 16 and Saturday, April 17 at SimpliFi Arena at Stan Sheriff Center.

The Rainbow Warriors (13-0, 8-0 BWC), which already clinched the Big West regular season and the No. 1 seed in next week’s conference tournament, will attempt to become the first team in program history to finish with an undefeated regular season.

UH leads the series with UCI, 41-22. The Warriors have won the last seven meetings and 11 of 12 since the start of the 2016 season. From 2011-15, the Anteaters won 10 of 11.

UH and UCI opened the season with a two-match series in Irvine, Calif., with the Warriors winning both matches. Since then, Hawai’i has gone 11-0 and the Anteaters 2-9.

With two wins this week, UH can finish the regular season with an undefeated record for the first time in program history. Hawai’i can also finish with an unbeaten conference record which has happened only twice in program history — 1980 (10-0 in WCVC) and 1996 (19-0 in MPSF).

UH has a 14-match win streak dating back to last season, which is the longest current streak in the country. UH and Daemen (10-0), an independent, are the only unbeaten teams in Division I-II. Daemen concluded its season last week.

UH has a nine-match home conference win streak dating back to 2018.

This year marks the third consecutive season that UH has started 13-0 and tied for the third-best start in program history. The 2019 team won its first 25 matches en route to a 28-3 campaign and the 2020 team went 14-0 before its first loss and concluded the pandemic-shortened season with a 15-1 mark.

UH is No. 1 nationally in team hitting percentage (.372), kills per set (14.00), blocks per set (2.96) and assists per set (12.72).

Opposite Rado Parapunov needs seven kills to surpass Dejan Miladinovic (1,198) for 10th all-time in program history. 

Parapunov has reached double figures in kills in all 13 matches this season and 19 straight dating back to last season. 

Middle blocker Patrick Gasman needs 18 total blocks to move into second all-time in program history tying Jason Olive, who is No. 2 at 474.

Following Saturday’s match, UH will honor six “seniors” in the traditional Senior Night ceremony — Parapunov, Gasman, Colton CowellGage WorsleyJackson Van Eekeren, and student assistant James Anastassiades.

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