Brigham Young played fast and furious in a 25-18, 25-20, 25-22 volleyball victory over Hawaii last night in the Smith Fieldhouse in Provo, Utah.
The first night of the two-match series pitted Mountain Pacific Sports Federation opponents that entered tied for third place.
But the third-ranked Cougars, effectively running a quick middle attack, were able to repeatedly elude the Warriors’ block. By improving to 11-6 in the MPSF, the Cougars are 7-0 in Smith this season. It was their first home match in nearly a month, and it was completed in 94 minutes.
“They were pretty sharp,” UH coach Charlie Wade said of the Cougars. “They hadn’t played here in a while, and they were pretty crisp.”
Provo is 4,570 feet above sea level, but the thin air — which tends to make shots float — appeared to have little bearing on the Warriors’ performance. Wade noted the Cougars committed 14 service errors, two more than the Warriors, and most of the Warriors’ errant serves did not clear the net.
“That has nothing to do with elevation,” Wade said.
The difference was the Cougars were in system most of the match, allowing setter Joe Kauliakamoa his choice of weapons.
Futi Tavana feasted on quick sets to the middle, slamming 10 kills in 13 swings and hitting .686.
That opened the way for BYU’s three pin hitters, who combined to hit .490. Opposite attacker Robb Stowell had 14 kills in 18 tries (.722).
“Our middles weren’t really that effective tonight … on both offense and defense,” Wade said.
While the BYU middles had 12 kills in 16 sets, UH middles Shane Welch and Jarrod Lofy were set a combined three times.
The Cougars’ serves disrupted the Warriors’ offensive flow, making it difficult for setter Nejc Zemljak to feed Welch and Lofy.
“We never really got into any rhythm often,” Wade said, “never got the middle established.”
The Warriors did make a strong push late in the second set, and had several surges in the third set.
“Hats off to Hawaii in that third set,” Stowell said. “They came back and battled with us. … I’m really proud of our guys. We were able to come back and match their intensity.”
In the third set, the Cougars had 17 kills without an error and hit .773. For the match, the Cougars committed eight attack errors. In contrast, the Warriors had 13 errors in the first two sets.
“The guys were competing hard, but we were hitting the ball out, and not out by much,” Wade said. “It wasn’t our best night.”
|Long Beach State||8||7||.533||6||10-10|
|UC San Diego||4||12||.250||101⁄2||8-15|
x-clinched MPSF tournament berth
BYU def. Hawaii, 25-18, 25-20, 25-22
UCLA def. UCIrvine, 25-20, 26-24, 25-21
Cal Baptist def. UCSanta Barbara, 25-17, 25-20, 25-19
UC San Diego def. Ohio State, 21-25, 25-22, 25-22, 28-26
Hawaii at BYU, 3 p.m. Hawaii time
Pepperdine at USC
Long Beach State at Pacific
CSU Northridge at Stanford
BYU DEF. HAWAII 25-18, 25-20, 25-22
Warriors (12-10, 10-7)
Cougars (15-7, 11-6)
Key — s: games; k: kills; e: hitting errors; att: attempts; pct: hitting percentage; d: digs; bs: block solo; ba: block assists; pts: points (kills plus blocks plus aces). Aces — Hawaii 1 (Welch). BYU 4 (Stowell 2, Sander, Da Pron). Assists — Hawaii 33 (Zemljak 25, Biscaro 4, Castello 2, Walker, Umlauft). BYU 39 (Kauliakamoa 35, Smith 2, Stowell, Da Pron). T — 1:34. Officials — Calles, Given, Martinez. A — 1,499.