It was the “Senior Show” that played out successfully for No. 1 Hawaii on Saturday night. Led by senior opposite Rado Parapunov’s 13 kills and five aces, and two tone-setting aces early by senior middle Patrick Gasman, the Warriors completed a historic night with a 25-17, 25-18, 25-13 sweep of unranked UC Irvine in 99 minutes.
Hawai’i finished the regular season at 15-0, undefeated for the first time in program history. The Warriors also finished with the first unbeaten campaign in the three-year history of the Big West, their 10-0 mark also their third overall perfect conference season (1996 MPSF and 1980 WCVC).
Hawai’i ran its home conference winning streak to 11 when defeating UCI for a ninth time in a row. The Anteaters (2-13, 2-8) will remain in Honolulu and return to the arena Thursday as the sixth seed in the Big West Tournament.
UCI will face third-seeded Long Beach State in the 4:30 p.m. quarterfinal. The second quarterfinal has fourth-seeded UC San Diego taking on fifth-seeded CSUN at 7 p.m.
Joel Schneidmiller and Sani Franciso both had nine kills for the Anteaters.
Senior hitter Colton Cowell finished with eight kills and, as happened on Friday, the match-ender. Chaz Galloway, who missed Friday due to illness, returned to the starting lineup for six kills with no errors on 13 swings.
Gasman added five kills
Parapunov tied his career high with his five aces, all coming in a 6-0 run in Set 3 that put Hawaii up 12-3.
About the only thing that dampened things early came in Set 1.
Things were going oh so well early The Warriors had 6.5 blocks — they had five total on Friday — and three aces, siding out at 90 percent when rolling to leads of 13-5, 22-9 and set point at 24-11.
And there Hawai’i stayed … for a while. Scott Stadick teed off from the service line and the Warriors had four consecutive hitting errors, after having just one before that. At 24-17, Schneidmiller hit long to finally end Set 1.