The streak is over and so to, for now, is the Hawaii men’s volleyball team’s hold on the top spot in the Big West and the nation.
Long Beach State took control during the fifth set Friday and held on for a 24-26, 25-22, 16-25, 25-16, 15-13 victory in front of a crowd of 4,011 at its Walter Pyramid in Southern California, handing the top-ranked Rainbow Warriors their first loss in 26 matches this season.
UH (25-1, 8-1 Big West), which was attempting to become just the fourth team in NCAA history to finish a season undefeated, can avenge the loss when the two teams meet again on Saturday in the regular season finale (4 p.m. on Spectrum Sports).
The teams are battling for the No. 1 seed in next week’s Big West Tournament in Honolulu.
Rado Parapunov compiled a match-high 21 kills for the Warriors, who hit for a season-low .322.
The defending champion 49ers (24-1, 9-0) came out firing in the fourth set – smacking 16 kills with no attack errors and a .615 hitting percentage – to extend their home win streak to 39 matches.
Kyle Ensing and TJ DeFalco led Long Beach with 18 kills apiece. The 49ers hit .344 with 10 aces and 14 blocks. DeFalco had four aces and Ensing tallied seven blocks.
In the fifth set, Long Beach scored five consecutive points sparked by DeFalco’s serving for an 8-3 lead. The Warriors rallied back with four straight, including consecutive kills by Parapunov and Stijn van Tilburg. UH tied it 9-9 after a Long Beach hitting error, but two straight points gave the 49ers an 11-9 lead and they sided-out the rest of the way with a kill by Nick Amado to seal the win.
Van Tilburg added 16 kills, hitting .500 while Patrick Gasman added nine kills and five blocks.
UC Riverside 16, Hawaii 5: UH starter Aaron Davenport didn’t last the second inning, and the Highlanders pounded 16 hits to take the series opener in Riverside, Calif.
The Big West road opener for the Warriors (13-18, 3-4) got ugly fast.
Already ahead 8-1 entering the bottom of the fifth, the Highlanders (10-21, 2-5 Big West) scored seven times.
Connor Cannon hit two home runs, including a grand slam off Scott Belina, and finished with five RBIs.
Davenport (2-2) allowed five earned runs on four hits in 1 1/3 innings. The Warriors’ third pitcher, Belina, got one out and was charged with five runs. Dean Miller hit a two-run home run off Li’i Pontes in the fourth.
Riverside used seven pitchers to hold UH to eight hits. Kamehameha-Hawaii alums DallasJ Duarte and Daylen Calicdan had two and one hits, respectively, and each scored a run.