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Rainbow Warriors outlast Beach in five-set thriller

The Maui News

Rado Parapunov slammed 27 kills, and the No. 1-ranked University of Hawaii men’s volleyball team downed No. 7 Long Beach State in five sets Saturday night in Honolulu in a match that included a little bit of controversy.

Middle blocker Patrick Gasman added a career-high 17 kills along with eight blocks in the 24-26, 32-30, 25-17, 20-25, 15-8 victory. The Rainbow Warriors (11-0, 6-0 Big West Conference) played without starting outside hitter Colton Cowell — the King Kekaulike High School graduate sat out with an ankle injury he sustained during warm-ups prior to his 14-kill performance in Friday night’s win.

The match Saturday between the two rivals lasted 3 hours and 14 minutes, made longer thanks to two delays by officials who ruled that the artificial crowd noise piped into the SimpliFi Arena at Stan Sheriff Center caused a disturbance to the Beach. The first delay lasted nearly 10 minutes in the second set, which eventually led to a heated debate by both head coaches who needed to be separated, according to the UH Athletics website.

With LBSU already up a set and leading 7-4 in the second, the officials first stopped the match to deal with the issue. UH was forced to lower the sound level when LBSU was preparing to serve. The Rainbow Warriors would rally from a six-point deficit to take the marathon set.

After splitting the next two sets, UH jumped out to a 4-1 lead in the decisive fifth and later scored three straight points to make it 10-6. The Rainbow Warriors closed out the match with another 3-0 run, capped by a kill from setter Jakob Thelle, who posted 59 assists.

Spencer Olivier had 25 kills and Punahou School alum Ethan Siegfried added 19 for the Beach (3-3, 3-3).

The Rainbow Warriors next play at Cal State Northridge next Friday and Saturday.

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