The top-ranked Hawaii men’s volleyball team had its depth tested playing without its top hitter against Grand Canyon tonight, and the Rainbow Warriors responded with a 25-15, 25-20, 25-13 sweep of the Antelopes.
UH (5-0) remained unblemished in 15 sets played in 2020, getting through its season-opening five-match homestand unscathed, though the Lopes (1-2) of the MPSF became the first opponent to reach the 20-point mark in a set as 3,355 people looked on.
The Warriors played without star senior Colton Cowell for the first time this season. Cowell suffered an unspecified injury late in the match against Harvard on Friday night. James Anastassiades got the nod in his place and the senior put down four kills.
Tournament Most Outstanding Player Rado Parapunov carried much of the workload, smashing a season-high 13 kills on .556 hitting, while middle Patrick Gasman added nine kills on 10 swings.
UH’s Gasman, Cowell and setter Jakob Thelle were named to the all-tournament team with the senior opposite Parapunov.
In the first set, UH employed a balanced attack, with Cowell watching and cheering with the reserves. Gasman’s first block made him No. 8 all-time in UH rejections, surpassing Andre Breuer at 345. Back-to-back kills by Parapunov staked UH to a 21-14 lead. Libero Gage Worsley made some tough digs late in the set to key a 4-0 closing run and UH closed it with a block by Guilherme Voss and Parapunov.
The Lopes were energized to open Set 2, playing UH point for point through 8-8 until submitting to a barrage from Parapunov. The senior’s ace made it 17-11 and his fifth kill of the frame put away the set on UH’s second opportunity. Previously, the most the Warriors had allowed was 19 by Charleston in the season-opening set on Jan. 3.
Parapunov’s 10th kill gave UH a 10-5 lead, followed by an ace by Anastassiades to force a GCU timeout. Freshman Chaz Galloway skied for a kill and Filip Humler ‘s ensuing ace made it 19-8. GCU’s Christian Janke tossed three straight aces; UH had allowed only four on the season entering the night.
Preceding Hawaii’s match, Harvard (2-1) swept Emmanuel (0-3) to take second place in the four-team tourney.