SAN BERNARDINO (Dec. 7, 2013) – Coming back from a 2-1 deficit, the No. 2 seed BYU-Hawaii women's volleyball team won a five-set thriller 3-2 (25-15, 17-25, 21-25, 25-22, 15-10) over No. 1 seed Cal State San Bernardino on Saturday night to claim the NCAA West Region Championship.
The Seasiders (27-1) lost back-to-back sets after winning the first to dig a deep hole on the home floor of the hosting Cal State San Bernardino Coyotes. BYU-Hawaii showed incredible resiliency battling back in sets four and five to punch its ticket to the NCAA Division II Women's Volleyball Championships next week on Dec. 12-14 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
The team was outhit by the Coyotes .267-.250 but it didn't matter as the Seasiders rose to the challenge with a big team effort. Shih Ting (Stella) Chen led the match with 23 kills, an ace and 16 digs. Erh Fang (Ariel) Hsu added 12 kills and Noel Pauga chipped in 10. Ying Chun (Michelle) Chen set up the kills with 50 assists, one shy of her season-best and added three aces. Lacy Miyahira delivered four service aces as well.
Stella Chen, Michelle Chen, Hsu and Pauga were all named to the All-Tournament team.
Things were close to open the first set. Tied at 9-9, BYU-Hawaii stepped on the gas and opened up a 15-10 lead. The run gave the Seasiders some momentum as they continued the charge, leading 23-15 before getting the last two to win the opening set 25-15.
The second set was similar, but this time with the Coyotes pulling away. BYU-Hawaii trailed 9-8 but the Coyotes took the third set 25-17 to even the match at 1-1.
BYU-Hawaii led the third set 13-8 when another comeback from CSUSB slowed down the Seasiders. Tied at 17-17 the Coyotes started to take control again. A 4-0 run gave them a cushion and they hung on to beat BYU-Hawaii 25-21, taking a 2-1 lead in the match.
Backs against the wall in the fourth set, BYU-Hawaii battled. Down 12-10, the Seasiders rallied to take a 16-15 lead. Both teams traded leads before the Seasiders notched back-to-back scores to make it 22-20. Trading scores the rest of the way, BYU-Hawaii closed set four with a 25-22 win to even things up at 2-2 and force a fifth set.
With momentum on their side, the Seasiders came out ready in the fifth and final set. BYU-Hawaii led 5-2 and pushed the lead up to 10-6. The Coyotes cut things to 11-9 but the determined Seasiders would not be denied winning the fifth set 15-10.
BYU-Hawaii will now travel to Cedar Rapids, Iowa for the NCAA Division II Women's Volleyball Championship, representing the West Region on Dec. 12-14. The Seasiders will face Ferris State at 3:30 p.m. ET (10:30 a.m. HT) on Thursday, Dec. 12. Additional information such as broadcast and ticket info will be available next week.