Warrior Volleyball: Hawaii falls in four

Despite missing four starters, Hawaii pushes BYU to four games before falling to the top ranked Cougars.

HONOLULU -Despite missing four regular season starters, the University of Hawai`i men's volleyball team held their ground in a tough 3-1 (30-25, 30-25, 28-30, 30-27) loss to Brigham Young University. The Warriors now fall to 13-6, 10-5 MPSF while the Cougars improve their record to 16-3, 14-1 MPSF.

Leading the Warrior attack was sophomore outside hitter Matt Bender who knocked down 23 kills. Bender also recorded four digs and four blocks. Seniors Arri Jeschke and Ryan Woodward, in their first career starts for the Warriors recorded 12 and 9 kills respectively. Kimo Tuyay dished up 58 assists for the squad, while libero Alfred Reft had 13 digs on the evening. Middle blocker Mauli`a LaBarre led the team on defense with two solo blocks and four block assists.

BYU came on strong in game one, but Hawai`i kept the score close to start. At 9-9, a 5-0 run gave the Cougars a 5-point edge as the Warriors struggled to put together an answer. Ryan Woodward led Hawai`i in game one with five kills in the Warriors campaign to ebb the Cougar tide. Woodward scored the last kill of the game before a kill from opposite Joe Hillman and a service error from LaBarre gave BYU the game, 30-25.

Game two played out similarly, with both teams vying for the lead for the first half of the game. At 13-12 the Cougars put together a 7-0 run to give themselves a comfortable 13-19 lead. Aiding them were seniors Hillman and Jon Alleman who each had seven kills at that point. But the Warriors got back together and came within three before BYU took game two, 30-25.

The first half of game three was no different, but at 12-all the Warriors rallied to a 20-14 lead, their largest of the evening. BYU closed to within two but the Hawai`i momentum was too much as they took game three, 30-28. The Warrior defense won it for the team, accumulating 10.5 team blocks by game three; compared to two for BYU.

In game four BYU took control of the match back after the Warriors took an early 3-0 lead; the Cougars led 15-13 at mid game. Hawai`i struggled to get back in the game, tying things up at 22-all off a pair of kills by Bender and a Hillman error. But the Cougars pulled ahead after a 4-0 run and eventually took game four, 30-27 and the match.

The Warriors will get a chance to avenge their loss on Saturday, March 20 when they face BYU again at 7:00pm at the Stan Sheriff Center.

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