Rainbow Warriors drop second straight five-setter to 49ers

For the second straight night, the top-ranked University of Hawaii men’s volleyball team fell to No. 2 Long Beach State in five sets on Saturday, 25-16, 18-25, 13-25, 25-23, 15-10 in Long Beach, Calif.

The Rainbow Warriors were led by Stijn van Tilburg with 17 kills. Rado Parapunov added 13 kills and Patrick Gasman had 12, but UH hit a season-low .298 in large part to the 49ers’ block — Long Beach State outblocked UH 15.5-6.5.

King Kekaulike High School graduate Colton Cowell had five kills, two assists, two digs and a block for the Rainbow Warriors (25-2, 8-2 Big West Conference).

TJ DeFalco had 21 kills and eight blocks, and Ethan Siegfried had 16 kills to lead the Beach (25-1, 10-0).

Unlike Friday’s match, where the teams were tied at 9 in the fifth set before Long Beach State pulled away to win 15-13, the Rainbow Warriors fell behind early in Saturday’s fifth set and never recovered. The 49ers scored five straight points to take a 6-2 lead, and UH never got closer than three the rest of the way.

The result means Long Beach State will be the No. 1 seed and UH the No. 2 seed for this week’s Big West tournament at the Stan Sheriff Center in Honolulu. They will next play in separate semifinals on Friday, with UH taking on the winner of UC Irvine vs. UC San Diego.