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No. 1 Hawaii volleyball team reverse sweeps No. 2 BYU

                                Hawaii outside hitter Filip Humler celebrated a kill with teammates during the second set against the BYU Cougars at tonight’s match.
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Hawaii outside hitter Filip Humler celebrated a kill with teammates during the second set against the BYU Cougars at tonight’s match.

A sellout crowd helped rally the top-ranked Hawaii men’s volleyball team in a reverse-sweep thriller over No. 2 BYU tonight, 20-25, 22-25, 25-22, 25-23, 19-17.

A night after the Cougars (18-1) snapped the Rainbow Warriors’ 25-match home winning streak and set a UH opponent record for hitting percentage in sweeping UH, they jumped out to a two-set lead by rallying from six points down in Set 2.

UH (15-1) showed resilience in sending the match to a fifth set in front of the turnstile crowd of 9,060. UH led by five points in the deciding frame, only for BYU to stuff UH on four straight points to get back in it. UH eked ahead and put the rival Cougars away on the fifth match point with an ace by middle Patrick Gasman.

Opposite Rado Parapunov anchored the UH attack with a career-high 30 kills on 50 swings, had 10 digs and was in on five blocks. BYU opposite Gabi Garcia Fernandez led BYU with 21 kills and had three aces, eight digs and five blocks.

>> PHOTOS: No. 1 Hawaii rallies from a 2-0 deficit for an improbable victory over No. 2 BYU

Senior hitter Colton Cowell, who struggled in Thursday’s matchup, was held out with flu-like symptoms and a recurring leg injury. Freshman Chaz Galloway, who did not play Thursday, took his spot in the lineup and supplied a season-high 10 kills. Sophomore middle Max Rosenfeld also started in place of freshman Guilherme Voss.

Set 1 was more of the same from Thursday night as BYU was undaunted by the fervor of the crowd and built a 17-9 advantage. Jakob Thelle came in at setter and was effective in getting UH within four, but he gave way to starter Brett Sheward again and Davide Gardini put it away with a kill.

Thelle took over from there. He put down an overpass for a five-point lead early in Set 2. But things flipped at 19-13; the Cougars rode Garcia Fernandez’s serve to within 19-16, and Gardini’s tough tosses to five straight points and a 21-20 lead for the visitors. The momentum couldn’t be stopped as Punahou alumnus Wil Stanley served three straight points for the set.

UH jumped ahead early in Set 3. An ace off the tape, followed by another from Gasman made it 18-10. BYU then narrowed a nine-point lead to 22-20 and the Cougars turned back two set points until Parapunov finally put it away.

The Warriors maintained a narrow lead early in Set 4. BYU went up for the first time at 12-11 on an ace by Garcia Fernandez. Thelle’s dump shot tied it up at 17. Parapunov gave UH the lead back, 20-19, by going off the BYU block on consecutive points. The senior’s new career-high 25th kill squared it at 21 and Gasman followed with an ace off the tape. Parapunov and Rosenfeld roofed Fernandez to set up set point.

UH led 8-4 when the teams changed sides in Set 5. Parapunov finally ended BYU’s four-block run with a kill to make it 10-9. His 30th kill off a triple block tied it at 11. Fernandez then put down a kill and dialed up an ace for a 13-11 BYU lead. Galloway put down a kill and Gardini hit long to make it 13-all. A solo block by Rosenfeld set up match point and UH finally put it away on a bullet by Gasman.

It was the 11th men’s volleyball sellout in the 25 years of the Sheriff Center.

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