HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The No. 1 University of Hawai’i men’s volleyball team rallied past 5th-ranked Lewis on the road Friday, in a marquee early season match-up at Neil Carey Arena. UH defeated Lewis by set scores of 20-25, 25-23, 26-24, 25-23, in the first ever meeting in Romeoville, Ill., and a rematch of last year’s NCAA Championship semifinal.
With the victory the Rainbow Warriors (6-0) remained perfect on the year with the help of their All-American opposite and a pair of reserve freshmen.
The Warriors played without kill leader Colton Cowell, and opposite hitter Rado Parapunov shouldered the offensive load for the 'Bows.
The Bulgarian notched a match-high 22 kills along with 10 digs, four aces, and four blocks. It marked the senior’s second career double-double and eighth 20-kill match.
True freshman, Chaz Galloway came off the bench in the first set and added eight kills, hitting .368 with five digs and three blocks. Galloway, was just one underclassmen who played big for the Warriors, as Redshirt freshman setter Brett Sheward entered the match in the third set to run the offense and dished out 18 assists while leading the Warriors to .414 hitting in the decisive fourth set.
'Bows middle blocker Patrick Gasman tallied a career-high four aces to go along with seven kills (.429) and six blocks.
Libero Gage Worsley was a defensive menace, tallying a match-high 13 digs, in front of a raucous crowd.
As a team, UH struggled offensively at times hitting for a season-low .248. Hawaii countered the swinging woes with a season-bests 13 blocks and nine aces.
The Flyers handed the Warriors their first set loss of the season in the opening frame before UH rallied back to take Set 2, withstanding a late Lewis comeback. In Set 3, the Flyers used runs of 7-0 and 6-0 for a 19-12 lead before the Warriors stormed back.
UH used a 5-1 run to close within 20-17, then took a 24-23 lead after scoring five unanswered.
Parapunov hit into the net on set point but after a Lewis service error, Parapunov teamed with Max Rosenfield for clutch block to give the Warriors the advantage in the match.
In Set 4, Gasman served his third and fourth aces for a 10-7 lead. The Warriors held on small cushion before the Flyers trimmed the deficit to one at 22-21.
After the teams traded service errors, Gasman ended the match with back-to-back kills.
The Warriors continue their four-match road trip with a non-conference match-up at Loyola, Saturday, Jan. 18.
First serve is 3:00 p.m. HT at Gentile Arena in Chicago, Ill.