Highlights of NCAA National Championship match UH vs. Long Beach State
The University of Hawaii men's volleyball team fell in the NCAA Championship match in four sets to Long Beach State, Saturday night, in front of a sold-out crowd at the Walter Pyramid.
LONG BEACH, Calif.—The University of Hawaii men's volleyball team fell in the NCAA Championship match in four sets to Long Beach State, Saturday night, in front of a sold-out crowd at the Walter Pyramid. The Beach successfully defended their national title on their home court, winning 23-25, 25-22, 25-22, 25-23.
The loss ended a historic season for the Rainbow Warriors (28-3) who set program records for most wins, longest win streak, and longest set win streak, the latter of which obliterated an NCAA-record. Making just its third finals appearance and first in 17 years, UH suffered its third loss to the 49ers this season, all at the Pyramid. Hawai'i's senior class of Brett Rosenmeier, Dalton Solbrig, Stijn van Tilburg, and Joe Worsleyfinished as the winning class in program history with 90 wins.
The Warriors had three players who recorded double-digit kills led by junior opposite Rado Parapunov, who put down a team-high 16 kills, hitting .303. The Sofia, Bulgaria native recorded double-digit kills in 22 out of 31 matches this season. For the 18th time this season, van Tilburg recorded double-digit kills with 11 in his final match wearing the Green and White. Van Tilburg finishes his career with 1,410 total kills, which ranks him at No. 7 all-time in the UH record books.
UH libero Gage Worsley tallied a match-high seven digs while junior outside hitter Colton Cowell added 10 kills with four digs and a block. Junior middle blocker Patrick Gasman led the team with three blocks to go with six kills. Joe Worsley dished out 42 assists while posting four kills, two service aces, six digs and a block in his final collegiate match.
The Beach out-blocked the 'Bows, 12.0-to-4.0 and LBSU notched eight service aces to UH's three. The 49ers edged out UH in kills 52-to-51 but out-hit Hawai'i, .427-to-.324.
Hawaii came out of the gates pumped, jumping out to a 7-3 lead which forced the Beach to call an early timeout to settle down. After the timeout, UH extended its lead to as much as eight points twice, the last coming at 21-13. Long Beach State closed the gap quickly going on a 10-to-3 run to trail by just one point, 23-22. But the Warriors would hold off the Beach's charge to capture the first set, 25-23 on a Dalton Solbrigkill of a LBSU overpass. Parapunov led UH with eight of his 16 total kills in the first set alone while hitting .636.
After the Warriors tied the second set at 7-7, Long Beach State went on a 6-to-2 run ending with back-to-back service aces by Josh Tuaniga which forced UH to call their first timeout trailing 13-9. The Beach held the lead the rest of the way. Hawai'i tried to mount rally, going on a 4-to-1 run to close to within two points, 20-18. Later, Joe Worsley and Solbrig combined for a block to trail by just one, 22-21 which forced the 49ers to call their second timeout. The Beach then won three of the last four points to take Set 2, 25-22 to tie the match at 1-1.
Hawai'i raced out to a 5-0 lead to start Set 3 behind the serving of Joe Worsley. But after an LBSU timeout, the Beach went on a 4-to-1 run of their own to shrink their deficit to two points at 6-4. Later LBSU would grab their first lead of the frame at 10-9 before the 'Bows retook the lead at 15-14. The Beach however answered with three-straight points—including back-to-back service aces by TJ DeFalco to go up by two, 17-15 at which point UH called their first timeout. Out of the timeout, UH won the next two points to tie it the set at 17-17 but the Beach finished the set strong scoring the last three-straight points to win the set, 25-22 to take a 2-1 lead in the match.
The fourth set was a dogfight with 13 ties. After UH took a very early lead at 2-1, LBSU either held the lead or the set was tied, until UH finally see-sawed in front at 18-17. Out of a timeout, LBSU scored three-straight which was the difference in the set as UH was only able to side-out down the stretch and were unable to cut into the lead.
DeFalco, the AVCA National Player of the Year, recorded a match-high 20 kills and three aces and was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player. Setter Josh Tuaniga had a match-high 43 assists along with three aces. Simon Andersen led the Beach block with six rejections in the match.
It was the fourth time in 23 days that Hawai'i has squared off with LBSU, who won three of the four matches. The match-up featured the only teams to ascend to the No. 1 spot in the AVCA poll this year. Hawai'i's Cowell, Parapunov and Joe Worsely were all named to the all-tournament team.