UH handed first defeat of season

The No. 1-ranked University of Hawaii men’s volleyball team suffered its first loss of the season Friday, losing a five-set thriller to No. 2 Long Beach State 24-26, 25-22, 16-25, 25-16, 15-13 in Long Beach, Calif.

After the teams traded punches in the first four sets, it all came down to the decisive fifth set. The 49ers took control first, scoring five straight points to take an 8-3 lead. The Rainbow Warriors responded with four straight points, including back-to-back kills by Rado Parapunov and Stijn van Tilburg, and eventually tied it up at 9. But the Beach scored two straight points to take an 11-9 lead, and the teams sided out from there.

Parapunov had 21 kills for UH (25-1, 8-1 Big West Conference), which hit a season-low .322 for the match. Van Tilberg added 16 kills and Patrick Gasman had nine kills and five blocks.

King Kekaulike High School graduate Colton Cowell finished with five kills — he hit .167 — two aces, seven digs, a block and two assists for the Rainbow Warriors.

Kyle Ensing and TJ DeFalco each had 18 kills to lead Long Beach State (24-1, 9-0). Ensing had seven blocks as the Beach outblocked UH 14-10.5.

The teams play again today in their regular-season finale. The Rainbow Warriors host the Big West tournament next week.