Warrior Volleyball: Swept by BYU

BYU beats Hawaii in three games in the first of two matches this week in Provo.

PROVO, Utah - A stubborn BYU (8-2, 8-2 MPSF) squad came from behind late in all three games to post a sweep of the second-ranked Warriors (9-3, 5-3 MPSF), 30-24, 31-29, 30-27, despite 12 kills apiece from outside hitters Costas Theocharidis, Tony Ching and Pedro Azenha, before a spirited crowd of 1,988 at Smith Fieldhouse.

Theocharidis, a senior from Orestiada, Greece, put-down his dozen kills while committing just one attack error in 22 swings for a .455 percentage. The double-digit performance was Theocharidis' fifth in a row and the 11th in 12 matches this season.

Ching's 12-kill performance was his third straight double-digit kill showing in a row. The 6-foot-2 senior from
Honolulu hit .474 tonight to follow-up strong performances against Cal State Northridge in which he posted 34 kills over two matches.

Azenha's third career start proved to be his third double-digit kills performance. The native of
Brazil posted 25 kills in his first career start against Stanford, and then had 10 against Cal State Northridge last weekend. Tonight Azenha recorded his 12 kills on a team-high 26 attempts.

Both squads came out smoking in game one, as the Warriors hit .636 and the Cougars .586 in an offensive first frame.
Hawaii jumped out to a commanding 14-10 lead before the Cougars put together a three-point run to pull within one. The Warriors led as late as 20-18, before BYU pulled together for a pair of points to draw even at 20 apiece. From there the Cougars outscored 10-to-4 to take game one despite nine kills from Azenha (five) and Ching (four).

The Warriors seemed to have game two wrapped-up, after Kimo Tuyay's block solo gave
Hawaii the 29-25 advantage. Senior Brian Nordberg subbed-in for middle Joshua Stanhiser with Hawaii holding a 24-22 advantage, and served the Warriors to three straight points to make it 27-22, Warriors. But with their backs against the wall, BYU ran-off six consecutive points to take the two game advantage. Cougar junior Jonathan Alleman served as BYU battled back from a huge deficit. Three BYU kills followed by three points resulting from Hawaii errors put the Warriors behind two games.

Even though they were down 2-0,
Hawaii held the statistical edge entering game three, out-hitting (.435 to .406) and out-blocking (6-to-3) the fourth-ranked Cougars. Warrior outside hitters Azenha (11 kills), Theocharidis (eight) and Ching (eight) were especially effective, combining for 27 kills.

The third game started out in the same bizarre fashion that the second set ended in, with BYU winning the frame's first point after it was determined that Hawaii served out of rotation. But the Warriors battled, following the lead of Ching and Azenha to a 10-6 advantage. Ching recorded four early kills, and Azenha a block and two kills to account for seven of
Hawaii's points. Again the Warriors maintained a late lead at 23-20, but could not hold, as the Cougars fought back to even the score at 24. From there the Warriors and Cougars went point for point until BYU took its final lead at 28-26. Even the best efforts of Theocharidis weren't enough in game three. The Greek National Team member recorded four late kills and even ripped a tough serve with the score deadlocked at 26-26, but as it had been the entire match, the ball did not bounce the Warriors' way. The serve, which smacked off of the tape at the top of the net, was over-passed toward setter Carlos Moreno, who turned and placed a dump shot onto open court.

The Warriors and Cougars will conclude their series tomorrow night at the
Marriott Center, where BYU officials are hoping to eclipse their NCAA single match attendance record. The Cougars hosted 14,156 fans when they played Hawaii in February of 1999.

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