May 4—COLUMBUS, Ohio — Over the course of an overnight journey from Oahu to Ohio, the Hawaii men's volleyball team collected its latest batch of postseason awards.
Five Rainbow Warriors were named to the NVA /AVCA All-America teams on Monday, with three—middle blocker Patrick Gasman, opposite Rado Parapunov and libero Gage Worsley—making the first team.
Outside hitter Colton Cowell earned his second consecutive second-team honor and setter Jakob Thelle was an honorable mention selection.
The announcement of the All-America teams came during a layover in the Warriors' trek stretching from Sunday night into Monday afternoon in advance of their NCAA tournament match on Thursday at the Covelli Center on the Ohio State campus.
The Warriors enter the tournament at 15-1 and as the top seed, led by the quintet of AVCA honorees.
Parapunov and Worsley joined Costas Theocharidis (2000-03 ) and Stijn van Tilburg (2017-19 ) as the only three-time All-Americans in program history. Theocharidis remains UH lone four-year All-American.
Parapunov was also an honorable mention pick as a freshman in 2018 and could have another award coming on Wednesday as a leading candidate for the AVCA Player of the Year Award. He enters the NCAA tournament third in the country with 4.41 kills per set and with a.340 hitting percentage.
Worsley is a junior in eligibility but will finish his UH career this week. He ranks 10th in the country with 2.32 digs per set and is one of the Warriors' primary passers. With Worsley's three-peat, UH has placed a libero on the All-America first or second team each of the past six years. Larry Tuileta made the second team in 2017 and the first team in 2018. Kolby Kanetake was a second-team pick in 2016.
"It's a crazy honor for me, " Worsley said of being part of UH's line of liberos. "To be able to be picked to be on the court and represent the University of Hawaii is an honor unlike any other."
Gasman moved up to the first team after being named to the second team the previous two years. He averaged 1.56 kills per set coming into this season and increased his offensive production to 2.22 kills per set. He tops the nation in hitting percentage at.500, up from.383 last year, and ranks sixth in blocks per set at 1.22.
"I feel like I got better and better every year, " Gasman said. "I feel like I always tried to hit the ball faster, move quicker ... every single year."
Cowell progressed from a serving specialist in 2016 to earn a starting spot in 2019 and All-America status in 2020. The senior from Makawao is second on the team with 3.09 kills per set while hitting.307.
Thelle took over full-time setting duties this season and is running a UH attack that leads the nation at.365. The sophomore enters the week fifth in the country with 10.71 assists per set.
BYU setter Wil Stanley, a Punahou graduate, made the first team for the second straight year. UC Santa Barbara outside hitter Ryan Wilcox, another Punahou alum, was an honorable mention pick.
The Rainbow Warriors open NCAA tournament play in the semifinals at 11 a.m. Thursday and will face the winner of today's opening-round match between UC Santa Barbara and Pepperdine.
"You have to treat it like any other game, like any other opponent, " Gasman said. "Obviously there's a lot of weight behind the game, but I trust my teammates, and I trust our system."
Penn State advances The NCAA tournament opened on Monday with Penn State sweeping Belmont Abbey 25-22, 25-13, 25-19 at the Covelli Center.
The Nittany Lions advanced to face Lewis today. The winner faces No. 2 seed BYU in Thursday's second semifinal match.
NVA /AVCA DIVISION I-II MEN'S ALL-AMERICA First team Ryan Coenen, Lewis OH Sr.
Randy DeWeese, UC Santa Barbara RS Sr.
Gabi Garcia Fernandez, BYU RS Sr.
Davide Gardini, BYU OH Jr.
Patrick Gasman, Hawaii MB Sr.
Casey McGarry, UC Santa Barbara S Sr.
Tyler Mitchem, Lewis MB Sr.
Rado Parapunov, Hawaii RS Sr.
Wil Stanley, BYU S Sr.
Gage Worsley, Hawaii L Jr.
Second team Cole Bogner, Penn State S Jr.
Colton Cowell, Hawaii OH Sr.
Cal Fisher, Penn State OH /RS Jr.
Alvaro Gimeno, NJIT OH Sr.
Kevin Kauling, Lewis S So.
Roy McFarland, UC Santa Barbara OH Sr.
Keenan Sanders, UC Santa Barbara MB Sr.
Spencer Wickens, Pepperdine OH Sr.
Brett Wildman, Penn State OH Jr.
Austin Wilmot, Pepperdine MB Sr.
Honorable mention Simon Andersen, MB, Long Beach State ; Tobi Azeez, OH, Mount Olive ; Raymond Barsemian, OH, Concordia-Irvine ; Luca Berger, MB, NJIT ; Mason Briggs, L, Long Beach State ; Kyle Bugee, OH, Lewis ; Brad Creamer, MB George Mason ; Felipe de Brito Ferreira, MB, BYU ; Bryce Dvorak, S, Pepperdine ; Zach Eschenberg, OH, BYU ; Michael Fisher, OH, Saint Francis ; Lucas Galifos, MB, McKendree ; Camden Gianni, OH, Grand Canyon ; Cole Ketrzynski, RS, UCLA ; Sam Kobrine, S /OH, UCLA ; Kyle McCauley, OH, UC San Diego ; Merrick McHenry, OH /RS, UCLA ; TJ Murray, MB, Lewis ; Spencer Olivier, OH, Long Beach State ; Cole Schlothauer, OH, Loyola Chicago ; Joel Schneidmiller, OH, UC Irvine ; Ryan Serrano, S, McKendree ; Sotiris Siapanis, OH, Ohio State ; Jakob Thelle, S, Hawaii ; Hayden Wagner, RS, George Mason ; Ryan Wilcox, OH, UC Santa Barbara ; Garrett Zolg, S, Loyola Chicago.