Big offensive surge leads to Hawai’i comeback victory against undefeated BYU

Photo courtesy of Hawai’i athletics

Opposite Rado Parapnov responded in a big way following the first loss of the season for No. 2/1 Hawai’i.

The All-American senior had a season-high 30 kills on a .440 attack percentage as Hawai’i rallied from a two-game deficit to beat No. 1/2 BYU 20-25, 22-25, 25-22, 25-23, 19-17 in front of a sold-out crowd Friday in Honolulu.

With this comeback win, the Rainbow Warriors split their two-match non-conference home series against the Cougars. Hawai’i allowed a program-worst .603 attack percentage in the series-opening loss Thursday that featured the nation’s only two remaining undefeated teams.

Hawai’i had three players finish the series finale with double-digit kills. Outside attacker Flip Humler had 10 kills, while freshman Chaz Galloway filling in a sidelined Colton Cowell also contributed 10 kills.

Parapunov along with his offensive performance had both a team-high 10 digs and five blocks.

Despite the loss, setter Wil Stanley guided the BYU offense to out-hit Hawai’i .329 to .299. The Cougars, though, were held to less than a .175 attack percentage in each of the final two games.

All-American opposite Gabi Garcia Fernandez led BYU with both 21 kills on a .405 attack percentage and three aces. Fernandez in the series-opening sweep had eight aces along with 13 kills on more than a .600 attack percentage.


Outside attacker Davide Gardini also had 17 kills while hitting .344, and middle attacker Branden Oberender added 10 kills on a .533 attack percentage.

BYU out-blocked Hawai’i 13.5 to 13, including middle attacker Miki Jauhiainen having a match-high nine blocks.

Middle attacker Patrick Gasman, though, had four blocks and a match-high five aces as Hawai’i ended with nine aces — four more aces than BYU.

Hawai’i jumped out to an early four-point lead in the decisive fifth game. BYU responded with a 6-2 run that featured three blocks from Jauhiainen and tied the game at 10-10.

BYU fought off a match-point to force an overtime and then in the overtime session overcame another two match-points before Gasman delivered the match-winning ace.

Parapunov in the fourth game led all players with 10 kills to help force a fifth game. With the fourth game tied at 22-22, Parapunov had a kill to give the Rainbow Warriors the lead and then three plays later delivered the game-winning kill.

Gasman had three aces in the third game as the Rainbow Warriors avoided the sweep and forced a fourth game.

Hawai’i led by as many as eight points, but BYU used an 8-2 run to move within two points. Parapunov, though, had a kill to end the run and give Hawai’i a 23-20 lead and then had the game-winning kill.

This was the second consecutive game that BYU had a late-game run.

The Cougars trailed 19-13 in the second game before going on an 8-1 run to take the lead. Fernandez then had two kills and a block as part of a 3-0 run to close out the game and give BYU a two-game lead.

Fernandez had a team-high five kills and zero attack errors as BYU hit .441 in its five-point opening-game win.

BYU led 18-10 before Hawai’i went on a 7-2 run to narrow the deficit. Parapunov had four kills during that run and finished with a game-high seven kills.

This was the final non-conference match for the Rainbow Warriors. The defending Big West will open conference play with a two-match road series against CSUN starting Friday.