For the first time since 2003, Hawaii men’s volleyball has a conference player of the year — and the Rainbow Warriors did it without playing a single conference match in 2020.
Senior opposite Rado Parapunov earned top honors from the Big West Conference in leading the Rainbow Warriors to a 15-1 record and a No. 2 ranking before the season was prematurely shut down due to the coronavirus threat.
UH’s only conference player of the year until today was Costas Theocharidis in the MPSF of 2001 and 2003.
Parapunov led the BWC in kills per set (4.77) while hitting .377, fifth in the conference. His season-capper was a had-to-see-it-to-believe-it 30-kill tour de force in a reverse sweep of then-No. 2 BYU at the Stan Sheriff Center on March 6, exactly a month ago.
The #BWCMVB Player of the Year
Rado Parapunov (@HawaiiMensVB)
🏐Led Big West in kills per set (4.47) and points per set (5.28)
🏐Ranked No. 5 in hitting percentage (.377)
🏐Had career-high 3️⃣0️⃣ kills in come-from-behind win over No. 2 BYU#GoBows | #LeaveALegacy pic.twitter.com/aym7U2fc6g
— The Big West (@BigWestSports) April 6, 2020
Parapunov was joined on the first team by senior hitter Colton Cowell, senior middle Patrick Gasman and junior libero Gage Worsley. UPDATE: Gasman is the first Big West player to be a three-time first-teamer (the Big West has had men’s volleyball for three years). Thanks to Tiff Wells for the assist.
#hawaiimvb with 4 of the 14:
-Patrick Gasman now a 3x 1st-team #BWCMVB selection; Gasman's 4th all-conf award;
–@ParapunovRado & Gage Worsley both a 2x 1st-team #BWCMVB selection; Parapunov's 4th all-conf award, Worsley's 3rd;
–@colton_cowell (1st ever #BWCMVB All-Conf selection) https://t.co/8l8uE1sqOR
— Tiff (@tiffersHI) April 6, 2020
And hitter Chaz Galloway, setter Brett Sheward and middle Guilherme Voss made up three of the seven-player BWC All-Freshman team.
— Big West Conference (@BigWestSports) April 6, 2020
UC Santa Barbara’s Rick McLaughlin was named BWC Coach of the Year. The Gauchos (14-2) finished ranked No. 3 and might’ve been UH’s toughest obstacle to a Big West championship.
It is as yet unclear which, if any, UH seniors will take advantage of the NCAA’s ruling to allow spring sports athletes to extend their eligibility another season. Cowell, however, recently indicated that he might be open to a return, per the Maui News.