Hawaii wins first men’s volleyball title with sweep of BYU

  • Associated Press Hawaii celebrates Saturday after beating BYU in the final of the NCAA men's volleyball tournament in Columbus, Ohio.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — They did it!

Rado Parapunov had 13 kills, seven digs, two blocks and three aces, and Hawaii won its first national championship in men’s volleyball with a dominating 25-21, 25-19, 25-16 victory over BYU on Saturday night.

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Parapunov was named the most outstanding player after his 18th straight match this season with double-digit kills.

“It’s about the heart, it’s about your teammates, it’s about doing your best, it’s never about stats,” Parapunov said. “It’s about this right here (trophy). I lost it once and second time thankfully I got it.”

The top-seeded Rainbow Warriors (17-1) didn’t lose a set during the NCAA tournament.

Parapunov had five kills in the first set and freshman Chaz Galloway added three. Hawaii was never challenged in the second set, going on a 6-0 run and jumping out to a 16-8 lead.

Hawaii kept it going in the third, building a 11-5 advantage and finishing with 41 kills, 10 aces and just 11 service errors while hitting .381.

“Long time coming,” UH coach Charlie Wade told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. “We are supported at a level in our community that college athletes don’t typically see. Not only is this win for the fans of Hawaii, but it is because of the fans of Hawaii.

“The support and the mana, the energy the fans bring to us, it’s an unbelievable feeling. This was a culmination of a lot of hard work.”

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Colton Cowell, Patrick Gasman and Parapunov as well as juniors Gage Worsley and Jackson Van Eekeren completed their college careers with the title the Warriors coveted since falling to Long Beach State in the 2019 final.

“We’ve been working for this for the last two years,” Cowell said. “For it to come full circle is really special.”

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