LONG BEACH, Calif. >> Junior hitter Colton Cowell put down 15 kills and top-seeded Hawaii used 10 aces to eliminate Lewis 25-15, 25-17, 30-32, 25-16 in today’s first NCAA men’s volleyball semifinal at the Walter Pyramid at Long Beach State.
Senior hitter Stijn van Tilburg and junior opposite Rado Parapunov added 11 kills apiece for the Rainbow Warriors (28-2), who set a program record for wins in a season. Junior middle Patrick Gasman was in on eight of the Rainbow Warriors’ 14 blocks with eight kills and no errors to hit .583 for the Warriors.
Senior setter Joe Worsley had his second double-double with 38 assists and 10 digs.
Hawaii advances to its first championship match since 2002 and will face second-seeded Long Beach State (27-2). The defending national champion 49ers got 17 kills from senior hitter TJ DeFalco in eliminating Pepperdine 25-21, 21-25, 25-16, 25-15 in tonight’s second semifinal.
Junior hitter Ryan Coenen led the Flyers (26-6) with 18 kills. Senior opposite Mitch Perinar had 13 and sophomore middle Tyler Mitchem 12.
After Lewis pushed the NCAA semifinals to a fourth set, Hawaii responded with force. A 6-0 run in the middle of the frame removed the drama and UH won going away, 25-16.
Cowell led the Rainbow Warriors with 15 kills on 27 swings, hitting .481, while van Tilburg and Parapunov finished with 11 kills apiece. Gasman had eight kills and was in on eight blocks. Worsley had 38 assists and 10 digs.
Hawaii squandered leads of 17-13 and 20-17, as well as six match points, as Lewis rallied to take the frame 32-30 and extend the NCAA semifinal match to a fourth set.
Mitchem hurt the Rainbow Warriors at the center of the net, with 11 kills on .625 hitting through the first three sets. Van Tilburg and Cowell led UH with 11 kills apiece to that point.
The second set between Hawaii and Lewis was more competitive than the first, as the Flyers and the Rainbow Warriors were knotted at 10 before UH pulled away with a 7-1 run to take the frame 25-17 and go up 2-0 overall.
Cowell’s tally was up to six kills on 10 attempts, while van Tilburg also had six kills, but on 14 swings.
Reserve hitter Brett Rosenmeier ended the set with a service ace.
Top-ranked University of Hawaii put together a dominant first frame against Lewis in the NCAA semifinals, hitting .500 compared with the Flyers’ .190 to take the set 25-15.
Cowell led the way with four kills on six attempts, while Worsley notched two service aces. Gasman got in on two blocks.
Read Star-Advertiser reporter Cindy Luis’ live blog from the match at https://808ne.ws/Hawaii-Lewis.
Star-Advertiser reporter Brian McInnis contributed to this report.