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In a volleyball match peppered with drama and controversy, Brigham Young outlasted Hawaii in five sets Friday night in the Stan Sheriff Center.
A crowd of 1,813 saw the fourth-ranked Cougars, playing outside of Utah for the first time in a month, improve to 16-4 overall and 12-3 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation by beating the Warriors 25-23, 25-23, 23-25, 34-36, 15-12.
In falling to 7-13 and 4-11 the Warriors missed a chance to move into eighth place. The top eight teams qualify for the MPSF’s post-season tournament.
MATCH SCORES: 25-23, 25-23, 23-25, 34-36, 15-12
NEXT: UH vs. BYU, 7 p.m. today at the Stan Sheriff Center
The pulsating match was sparked after the Warriors appeared to be without a pulse in the fourth set. The Cougars were serving for aloha ball, at 24-21, when the Warriors rallied to force the first-to-15 final set.
The Warriors were able to finally solve the Cougars’ wall of blockers in taking a 12-11 lead in the fifth set. Then BYU middle Futi Tavana slammed a spike that Scott Hartley was able to dig in the UH back row. But the official ruled that Hartley had made double contact, claiming the ball pinballed off Hartley’s left forearm and left shoulder, and awarded the tying point to the Cougars.
The Warriors protested vehemently, and the up referee slapped them with a yellow card — giving the Cougars another point and a 13-12 lead.
UH associate head coach Jeff Hall said: "It was a super tough loss, but you can’t change the ref’s mind. It was unfortunate they called the double. The rules dictate that it not be called."
BYU outside hitter Josue Rivera then rolled a shot over a double block to set up yet another aloha ball.
The match ended, symbolically, when UH’s Harrison Carroll’s back-row attack fell short, striking the net and igniting post-match protests from Warriors head coach Charlie Wade.
Taylor Sander, proving he’s fully recovered from a fractured hand, buried 23 kills for the Cougars. Tavana had 14 kills and contributed 14 blocks — including one solo — of the Cougars’ 21.5.
The Warriors managed only 12.5 blocks.
Steven Hunt led the Warriors with 24 kills and J.P. Marks added 19.
It was a disheartening outcome for the Warriors, who appeared to have solved their problems at opposite attacker. They went with a platoon, with Taylor Averill playing the first five rotations before yielding to Carroll. At 6-1, Carroll is perhaps the shortest opposite in Division I-II volleyball, a position that goes against an opponent’s best hitter.
But while his teammates struggled to hit over the BYU block, Carroll was able to find points by tooling ricochet kills. Carroll also was effective out of the back row, where he launched six of his seven kills.
The Warriors’ fortunes turned in the fourth set, when they surged to a 25-24 lead. They served 11 times for set point in the fourth.
"I thought UH played really well, especially in the last two sets," Tavana said. "They struggled early, and we capitalized on that."
As for Hartley’s double contact, Tavana said: "It was a questionable call. Unfortunately for them, it came when it did. The match could have gone either way. A call like that changes things."