Seasiders split first day of top five contests

Seasiders split first day of top five contests

DENVER – Shih Ting (Stella) Chen led BYU-Hawaii women's volleyball to a split on the first day of the Colorado Premier Challenge sweeping No. 5 Central Missouri (25-17, 25-21, 25-20) before dropping a contest to No. 3 Minnesota Duluth (25-18, 25-20, 25-21).

Chen finished with 21 kills on the day for the Seasiders (3-1) to go with nine block assists. Erh Fang (Ariel) Hsu added 14 kills and seven block assists.

BYU-Hawaii used six service aces and 10 total blocks to pull out the sweep against Central Missouri (3-3). Trailing 8-7 in the first set, Elizabeth Blake delivered two aces and assisted Chen on three kills to lead a 9-0 run that gave the Seasiders a lead they would not relinquish. They would close the set on a 4-1 run led by Hsu to take the set.

The Mules started out fast in the second set going on a 5-0 run to take a 6-2 lead. BYU-Hawaii responded with several small runs to take a 10-9 lead, but Central Missouri retook the lead with a 4-0 run.

The Seasiders answered again this time with a 5-0 run to take a 15-13 lead and leading to a timeout by the Mules. After Central Missouri briefly regained the lead with a 3-0 run, BYU-Hawaii put the set away with a 4-0 run and another 3-0 run to give it the space needed to close out a set two victory.

Both teams saved their best hitting for the last set with the Seasiders recording a .294 hitting percentage, while the Mules finished with a .275 percentage. With no big runs in the set, BYU-Hawaii used several small bursts to build a 15-9 lead. Central Missouri cut into the lead with two small 3-0 runs, but the Seasiders sustained attack allowed them to close out the match with a 4-1 run.

The second match of the day saw BYU-Hawaii fall behind Minnesota Duluth quickly after runs of 5-1 and 5-0 gave the Bulldogs an 11-3 lead. The Seasiders played themselves back into the set led by strong blocking and an ace from Hsu to make it 15-12.It's the closest BYU-Hawaii would get with Minnesota Duluth closing on another 5-1 run.

The last two sets played out similarly with the Seasiders keeping things close through the first twenty points before the Bulldogs built leads of 15-10 with quick runs to get all the room they needed to finish off the sweep.

BYU-Hawaii will look to get off to quicker starts with two tough contests tomorrow against No. 1 Concordia St. Paul at 8 a.m. MST and No. 2 Tampa at 1 p.m. to wrap up tournament play in Colorado.

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