Senior leadership helps top-ranked Hawaii cruise by Lincoln Memorial
The Hawaii men’s volleyball team scored a straight-sets victory over Lincoln Memorial University on Monday night, 25-15, 25-15, 25-23, in the third act of its four-match road trip.
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HARROGATE, Tenn. >> The Hawaii men’s volleyball team scored a straight-sets victory over Lincoln Memorial University on Monday night, 25-15, 25-15, 25-23, in the third act of its four-match road trip.
No. 1 Hawaii never trailed in the opening set as senior opposite Rado Parapunov recorded five kills and Colton Cowell added four. The two would ultimately finish the night tied for team high with 10 kills apiece. A big block by freshman middle Guilherme Voss clinched the set for the Rainbow Warriors.
LMU delivered the first blow of the second set and jumped out to a 2-1 lead before Hawaii’s size overwhelmed the Railsplitters. Parapunov and senior middle Patrick Gasman combined for five blocks in the second stanza and freshman Chaz Galloway got four of his six assists as the Rainbow Warriors sailed to another win. Gasman finished the night with seven blocks.
Coach Charlie Wade said that the team’s veteran leadership has been critical in maintaining a collective team focus during such a long road trip.
“They just know how to play, and that was evident even early in the road trip,” Wade said of his veteran core following the win. “The first night at Lewis, that’s a top-five team, a real hostile environment, but our veteran guys played good. Colton, Rado, Pat and Gage (Worsley) have all played a lot of volleyball at a high level, and that is what you expect, that your older guys are going to play like that in meaningful matches, and they certainly have every night.”
Wade made four substitutions to begin the third set, sending in Jakob Thelle, Dimitrios Mouchlias, Max Rosenfeld and Filip Humler. LMU hung close and tied the set 20-20 and the crowd came alive once more before Wade sent Cowell and Parapunov back on the floor to close out the match.
The senior duo responded with a pair of kills, one by Cowell setting up match point and Parapunov pounding the dagger for the straight-sets win. Wade said the mass substitution was out of character for him, but that the live game experience will benefit both the players and the team as a whole in the long run.
“I usually won’t make four changes like that on the road just because it throws the rhythm off — it’s not because they aren’t good players,” Wade explained. “It’s always good to get guys in and real match experience. It is one of the few ways we can reward good behavior and get guys playing. We know that every guy down the roster can play. It is just finding the time to do it.”
Senior Evan Cory led LMU with 16 kills, a block, and a service ace. The match drew an attendance of 2,421.
“I thought it was a really fun environment,” Wade said. “It’s been a long road trip. We left Honolulu on Tuesday night and I though we got off to a pretty good start. We are still kind of searching for a lineup, so I thought we played pretty good from the start and it was a fun environment to be in.”
Hawaii will travel to nearby Bristol to face King University today before heading home.