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Hawaii men’s volleyball team vaults to No. 1 in national ranking

  • Jamm Aquino / 2019
                                Hawaii opposite Rado Parapunov (19) puts a kill past Concordia-Irvine during the second set of a men’s NCAA volleyball game on Jan. 11, 2019 at the Stan Sheriff Center.

    Jamm Aquino / 2019

    Hawaii opposite Rado Parapunov (19) puts a kill past Concordia-Irvine during the second set of a men’s NCAA volleyball game on Jan. 11, 2019 at the Stan Sheriff Center.

After winning its first four matches — all on the road — to open the 2021 season, the University of Hawaii men’s volleyball team is ranked No. 1 in this week’s American Volleyball Coaches Association poll.

The Rainbow Warriors, who were No. 2 last week, received 15 of the 16 first-place votes and earned 239 points to overtake Brigham Young for the top spot. The Cougars, who are 6-2, lost one of the four matches in a series against Grand Canyon last week.

Of the No. 1 ranking, UH coach Charlie Wade said in a telephone interview this morning, the best thing is “the program getting recognition. I think this is three years in a row that we’ve been, for at least a week, No. 1. That speaks for the intent from the beginning, not just winning but getting back to where the program is year in and year out one of the elite programs in the country. That will continue to be the goal.”

Wade, in his 12th year as UH head coach, earned his 200th career coaching victory last week.

Because of the pandemic, the Big West allowed its members to schedule matches only against each other during the regular season. UH’s victories in the two-match series over UC Irvine and UC San Diego were considered “nonconference” matches, even though the three teams are Big West members.

“We’re fortunate to win four games on the road,” Wade said. “We’ve got a lot of work to do to keep improving.”

BYU, which received the other No. 1 vote, amassed 224 points.

Pepperdine was third with 195 points, followed by UC Santa Barbara and Lewis.

Three UH players also won Big West awards for their performances in the two-match sweep of UC San Diego. Outside hitter Colton Cowell was named player of the week, opposite attacker Rado Parapunov was selected as top defensive player, and Spyros Chakas was honored as freshman of the week.

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