Opposite Rado Parapunov showed why he is the reigning Big West Player of the Year.
Parapunov led all players with both a season-high four aces and 20 kills on a .438 attack percentage as No. 1/1 Hawai’i defeated No. 3/2 UC Santa Barbara 25-22, 25-19, 26-24 to complete the three-match series sweep on Saturday in Santa Barbara, California.
The Bulgarian native had nine of his 20 kills in the final game. In addition, he had three of those kills late in that third game, including a kill with Hawai’i (7-0, 2-0 Big West) facing a game-point to force overtime.
Parapunov concluded the series with more than 15 kills and more than a .400 attack percentage in each of the three matches. He now has double-digit kills in seven consecutive matches to open the season for the undefeated Rainbow Warriors and is leading the Big West with a 4.39 kills per game average.
Setter Jakob Thelle had 38 assists and guided the Hawai’i offense to out-hit UC Santa Barbara .416 to .330. Thelle also had the match-winning kill in the third-game overtime.
Hawai’i opened the match with a .500 attack percentage in the first game and hit more than .300 in each of the three games.
All-American middle attacker Patrick Gasman finished with seven kills on a .500 attack percentage. This was the sixth time in the last seven matches that Gasman hit at least .500.
Gasman also contributed a match-high six blocks in the victory.
Along with Gasman, middle attacker Guilherme Voss ended with five kills and zero errors on a perfect 1.000 attack percentage.
UC Santa Barbara (4-3, 0-2 Big West) in the loss had two players finish with double-digit kills. Opposite Randy DeWeese had a team-high 12 kills, while outside attacker Roy McFarlan added 10 kills on a .450 attack percentage.
This series finale, unlike the first two matches, counted as a non-conference match. The Gauchos remain two matches behind the first-place Rainbow Warriors in the Big West standings.