No. 1 Hawai’i Stays Unbeaten with Sweep over No. 3 UCSB

Photo by Jeff Liang
Photo by Jeff Liang

HONOLULU, Hawai'i - In another heavyweight matchup between two of the top teams in the nation, the No. 3 UC Santa Barbara men's volleyball team fell 3-0 (25-18, 25-22, 25-16) at the hands of No. 1 Hawai'i in front of 7,773 at the Stan Sheriff Center.

It was the largest crowd of the season at the Sheriff Center, on hand to see Hawai'i (24-0, 7-0 Big West) extend its winning streak to 24 matches, the sixth longest streak in NCAA history, while extending its unprecedented set-win streak to 72. UCSB, meanwhile, fell to 17-6 overall and 4-3 in Big West play with the loss. It was just the second time all season the Gauchos have been swept and first since a 3-0 loss at UCLA on Jan. 16.

The Rainbow Warriors outhit the Gauchos .282 (41-17-85) to .200 (28-13-75) for the match and hit .344 in the opening set, jumping out to a 7-2 lead and never looking back, cruising to a 25-18 win.

Santa Barbara regrouped and looked poised to be the first team to take a set from Hawai'i in game two. The Gauchos hit .379 with 13 kills and just two errors in the frame, and led as late as 20-19 after a Keenan Sanders kill. The Rainbow Warriors answered back behind two straight kills from Rado Parapunov to regain the lead until Corey Chavers slammed down a kill to tie the set at 21-21. In the end, Parapunov proved to be too much as he tallied back-to-back kills to close out the set 25-22 and put UH ahead 2-0.

The third set was all Hawai'i as the Rainbow Warriors took four of the first five points, and hit .250 while the Gauchos hit just -.045 with nine attacking errors to seal the sweep.

Honolulu native Ryan Wilcox led UCSB with nine kills while Chavers finished with eight and Sanders added six. Hayden Boehle led the team with six digs, Jack Truman recorded six blocks and Randy DeWeese dished out 24 assists.

UCSB and Hawai'i will play again on Saturday night at 10:00 p.m. PT in front of a sell-out crowd of 10,300, the first sell-out for Hawai'i men's volleyball since 1997.