×

UH men ranked No. 1 in coaches preseason poll

Maui’s Colton Cowell is among the top returnees from Hawaii’s national runner-up team last season. UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII ATHLETICS photo

The Maui News

The University of Hawaii men’s volleyball team was selected No. 1 in the AVCA preseason coaches poll Thursday.

It is the fourth time in program history that the Rainbow Warriors will open the season as the nation’s top-ranked team, but it is the first time UH is the preseason No. 1; the AVCA started the preseason poll in 2007.

“Our ranking is a reflection of all the hard work the players have put in over the past several years,” coach Charlie Wade said in a story on the UH athletics website. “Many people have contributed in many ways to help our program grow and thrive.”

Among the top returnees from UH’s national runner-up team last season is King Kekaulike High School graduate Colton Cowell. The 6-foot-1 senior outside hitter had a breakout season in 2019, finishing third on the team with 2.36 kills per set and leading the team with a .959 reception percentage.

Also returning are star opposite Rado Parapunov, middle blocker Patrick Gasman and libero Gage Worsley.

The Rainbow Warriors received 14 of the 16 first-place votes in the preseason poll. No. 2 UCLA received one. BYU came in at No. 3, while defending national champion Long Beach State, which got the other first-place vote, was at No. 4.

UH begins the season with a pair of matches against Charleston on Jan. 3-4 in Honolulu.