Playing in an empty arena, Hawaii and Long Beach State added a “crowd” noise controversy to their men’s volleyball rivalry tonight.
Acrimony over piped-in crowd noise in SimpliFi Arena at Stan Sheriff Center — meant to provide a semblance of atmosphere as the season continues without fans in house — seemed to intensify the play on the court and the top-ranked Rainbow Warriors outlasted the No. 7 Beach 24-26, 32-30, 25-17, 20-25, 15-8 to complete a series sweep and remain undefeated.
After Long Beach State won the first set, Beach coach Alan Knipe took exception to an increase in volume in the second set and discussions — at times heated — over the crowd noise led to several delays in a lengthy set that took just over an hour to complete. The Warriors eventually outlasted the Beach to knot the match and surged away in the third set.
Long Beach State led for much of the fourth set and forced Hawaii into a fifth set for the first time this season.
UH outside hitter Rado Parapunov led the Warriors with a season-high 27 kills — six coming in the fifth set — on 53 attempts with 10 errors and contributed to seven blocks. He also served up two two aces, the second coming early in the final set as UH opened up an early lead and pulled away.
UH (11-0, 6-0 Big West) played without senior outside hitter Colton Cowell due to an ankle injury, and middle blocker Patrick Gasman put down a career-high 17 kills, hitting .481, and was in on eight of UH’s 14 blocks. UH libero Gage Worsley had a career-high 17 digs.
Setter Jakob Thelle dished out 59 assists and ended the night with his fourth kill on match point.
LBSU outside hitter Spencer Olivier put down a career-high 25 kills, Punahou graduate Ethan Siegfried added 19 kills and middle blocker Simon Andersen was in on 11 blocks. The Beach (3-3, 3-3) put down 17 blocks in the match.