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UH escapes with five-set win over UC Irvine

Rado Parapunov slammed a match-high 25 kills as the top-ranked University of Hawaii men’s volleyball team narrowly avoided its first loss of the season, edging UC Irvine in five sets Friday night at SimpliFi Arena at Stan Sheriff Center in Honolulu.

King Kekaulike High School graduate Colton Cowell added 17 kills in the 25-22, 25-23, 23-25, 24-26, 15-13 victory, the final kill coming on match point to up the Rainbow Warriors’ record to 14-0, 9-0 in Big West Conference play.

Jakob Thelle dished out 56 assists and Gage Worsley had 11 digs for UH, which managed just five blocks the entire match. Cowell also had six digs, three blocks and an ace.

The match was close most of the night — the exception coming in the fourth, when the Anteaters jumped out to an 11-5 lead, though Hawaii eventually climbed back into the set late. The teams were tied at 13 in the fifth before an Irvine service error and Cowell’s kill put the match away.

Joel Schneidmiller led UCI (2-12, 2-7) with 20 kills.

The teams play again today in their regular-season finale.

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