Whether you were a diehard Hawaii volleyball fan or a late-comer to the sensation that was #WarriorBall19, you likely shared in some indelible moments over the past few months.
The record 74-set streak, and the moment it came to an end to a standing ovation at home. The five-setters at Long Beach State to cap the regular season. The epic rematch with The Beach for the Big West title played in front of an epic sellout crowd. The curious timing and lingering questions about the misconduct allegation against coach Charlie Wade. And finally, the disappointing finish of the four-set loss to LBSU in the NCAA championship game.
It was UH’s first national championship game appearance since men’s volleyball won it all in 2002, and subsequently had it stripped by the NCAA for use of an ineligible player.
A happier ending seemed in play this time for the guys who captured the collective imagination of the state in a way that few teams accomplish. The expressive Worsley brothers, “The Flying Dutchman” Stijn van Tilburg, “Rocket” Rado Parapunov, local boy Colton Cowell, “Uncle Pat” Patrick Gasman and the rest of the gang endeared themselves to people with their accessibility and humility.
It could be the enduring misfortune of Hawaii (28-3) that it fielded one of its all-time great teams in the same window of a generationally good Long Beach (28-2) team that had the advantage of playing at home, where the TJ DeFalco-led 49ers it hadn’t lost in years. Or it could prove to be a galvanizing moment and turning point for the program. In Parapunov, Cowell, Gage Worsley and Gasman, there is a nucleus of talent returning. Of course, Joe Worsley, van Tilburg, Dalton Solbrig and Brett Rosenmeier will be tough to replace, too.
Here’s input from some others in the media and on the team on the 2019 Hawaii men’s volleyball season that was:
— Brandi Higa (@bhiga12) May 5, 2019
'Bows return home from Long Beach, Van Tilburg bids emotional farewell https://t.co/ma5UUv9jWs @HawaiiMensVB #GoBows #WarriorBall19 @HawaiiAthletics #MahaloBows // https://t.co/SOdY37JnAf 🤙🏽 pic.twitter.com/jkemJoXwOV
— Rob DeMello (@RobDeMelloKHON) May 6, 2019
— Tiff (@tiffersHI) May 5, 2019
— Hawaii Men’s Volleyball (@HawaiiMensVB) May 5, 2019