UH captures Rainbow Warrior Classic in straight sets

UH captures Rainbow Warrior Classic in straight sets
The Rainbow Warriors (5-0) took the title by sweeping all three matches in the tournament over Emmanuel, Harvard, and GCU (Source: Hawaii Athletics)

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The No. 1 University of Hawai'i men's volleyball captured its third consecutive Raising Cane's Rainbow Warrior Classic title following a straight-set win over Grand Canyon Saturday at the Stan Sheriff Center.

Set scores were 25-15, 25-20, 25-13. The Rainbow Warriors (5-0) took the title and swept all three opponents in the tournament Emmanuel, Harvard, and Grand Canyon University.

With the victory UH has now won all five of its matches in straight sets this season and extended its home win streak to 22.

Hawai’i also remained perfect in the third annual tournament winning all nine matches in straight sets dating back to 2018. The Tournament Most Outstanding Player award was given to UH’s Rado Parapunov.

In the title game the Bulgarian registered a match-high 13 kills, while hitting .579 with two aces and three blocks.

Lead attacker Colton Cowell did not play as the Maui native continues to recover from a leg injury, opening the door for fellow senior James Anastassiades to start in his place.

The Huntington Beach, Calif., native flourished in the role hammering home four kills, one ace, two digs, and one block in front of an electric Manoa crowd.

'Bows middle blocker Patrick Gasman tallied nine kills in the victory and and was also named to the all-tournament team.

Setter, Jakob Thelle continued his strong passing season dishing out 32 assists while leading the Warriors to a team hitting percentage of .523.

UH was hot from the opening serve jumping out to a 9-3 lead to start Set 1, which included two failed GCU challenge attempts.

The Lopes hitting errors continued to hurt them all evening, as the Warriors lead to 15-8 at the first media timeout.

UH hit .632 with three blocks and limited the Lopes to .038 hitting to start the match.

The teams traded points for the early part of Set 2 until the Warriors scored five straight to secure a 13-8 lead.

A Parapunov ace followed by a Gasman block spurred another 4-0 run that put UH on top 18-11, a lead that all but sealed the game.

In the day’s earlier match, Harvard defeated Emmanuel, 25-11, 25-16, 25-15 to finish the tournament in second place at 2-1. Campbell Schoenfeld had a match-high 10 kills for the Crimson and was named to the all-tournament team.

Emmanuel’s Don Thompson, a King Kekaulike High graduate in Maui, was also named to the all-tourney team.

The Warriors will next hit the road for four matches in five days beginning with a rematch of last year’s NCAA Championship semifinals against Lewis, Friday, Jan. 17 in Romeoville, Ill.

During the road trip, UH will face Loyola, Saturday, Jan. 18; Lincoln Memorial, Jan. 20; and King, Jan. 21.

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