It’s champ week! Columbus, Ohio and the Covelli Center is the site for the 2021 National Collegiate Men’s Volleyball Championship with the same goal in mind: to hoist the championship trophy. The Rainbow Warriors are in, making their second straight appearance and seventh all-time. Also, for the second straight Men’s Volleyball Championship, UH is the No. 1 seed, meaning #WarriorBall21 (15-1 overall) won’t play until the semifinal round (Thursday, May 6th). It begins today with one opening round match. For the Rainbow Warriors, the mantra this season has been #UnfinishedBusiness. In this week ten edition of “Quick Sets,” Tiff Wells looks at two storylines each week, either within the UH program or from around the nation. Year four of the Big West Conference season for men’s volleyball has their top two teams continuing their seasons in Ohio this week.
By Tiff Wells.
May 3, 2021 – The players and coaches are just happy to be having a Men’s Volleyball Championship here in 2021. Much like two weeks ago when the six Big West Conference Head Coaches said during the media zoom, the seven Head Coaches involved in this week’s National Collegiate Men’s Volleyball Championship are just thankful and happy we got to this point. Dedication, perseverance and sacrifices made by many involved helped to get us here where on Saturday, a new National Champion will be crowed (two-time defending National Champ Long Beach State lost in the semifinal round of the Big West Championship and didn’t receive an at-large bid).
The National Collegiate Men’s Volleyball Championship expanded to six teams beginning with the 2014 championship and added a seventh team beginning with the 2018 championship. The reason for it growing from six to seven was in large part due to the Big West Conference and its sponsorship of Men’s Volleyball beginning with the 2018 season. The mantra of the sport over the last few years is #GrowTheGame. Perhaps very soon, we see this national tournament add an additional at-large bid OR witness another conference begin its sponsorship of the sport to where we ultimately see eight teams compete.
The 2021 Men’s National Collegiate Volleyball Championship begins later today with the first of three opening round matches. Today’s lone match features the Belmont Abbey Crusaders (15-7, Conference Carolinas Auto Bid) and the Penn State Nittany Lions (21-3, EIVA Auto Bid). The match begins at 11 a.m. HST, with a live stream here. The Tuesday Opening Round Matches will also be streamed at btnplus.com. NCAA.com will have the video for Thursday’s semifinal matches.
For a preview of this opening round match, as well as the other two matches on Tuesday, click here.
For a fun preview of 15 names to know for this match, click here on this preview done by our friends at Off The Block.
Also on Monday morning, the AVCA announced their First and Second All-America teams, as well as the Honorable Mentions. Hawai`i led the way with five players being recognized.
.@AVCAVolleyball All-America Honors For Five Warriors; Parapunov, Worsley 3X First Team Selections
Parapunov – 1st Team
Gasman – 1st Team
Worsley – 1st Team
Cowell – 2nd Team
Thelle – Honorable Mention
— Hawaii Men’s Volleyball (@HawaiiMensVB) May 3, 2021
UH and BYU placed three each on the first team. Rado Parapunov and Gage Worsley become the program’s third and fourth players to earn three first-team awards (Costas Theocharidis and Stijn van Tilburg). It’s also the fourth mentions on an All-America team for both Parapunov and Worsley. UH’s lone representative on the second team was Colton Cowell. This is Cowell’s second straight second-team accolade. Jakob Thelle received Honorable Mention accolades.
The five honorees are tied for the most in a single-season in program history (2015, 2018 and 2019) while the three, first-team selections are tied for the most in program history (2003).
The Player of the Year award is announced on Wednesday. The frontrunner for this is Rado Parapunov. The award has been won by UH three times in program history (Costas Theocharidis: 2003 and 2001. Yuval Katz in 1996 was the Co-Player of the Year).
Throughout his career, Parapunov has said individual awards are nice but they don’t mean much. The ultimate goal for him, for this team, is what has eluded this program since 2002. A national championship. That’s the reason why all five UH seniors (Parapunov, Gasman, Cowell, Jackson van Eekeren and James Anastassiades) came back. It’s the final week of #WarriorBall21 and for the Bows, they’ll land in Columbus later this afternoon with only one goal in mind for the week…to finish the business.
To view the entire bracket, click here.