LAIE, Hawaii – BYU-Hawaii women's volleyball had another five-set thriller against Fresno Pacific, but the Sunbirds were able to come out on top (23-25, 25-18, 25-22, 16-25, 15-13) on Saturday night at the Cannon Activities Center.
"It was another tough match with Fresno [Pacific]" BYU-Hawaii head coach Mona Ah Hoy said. "The match went back-and-forth all night and we had to battle back like we did at their place. Unfortunately for us we were unable to come out on top in that fifth set."
Shih Ting (Stella) Chen recorded 15 kills and 13 digs making it her ninth double-double of the season. Talia Afalava provided a spark of the bench leading the team with 16 kills to go along with seven digs.
The first point went to the Fresno Pacific (16-6, 10-3 PacWest), but two consecutive kills by Noel Pauga Wolman gave BYU-Hawaii (14-4, 11-1 PacWest) the early lead. From then on the teams exchanged points with the Seasiders gaining a slight lead from kills by Kalistina Takau, Chen and Erh Fang (Ariel) Hsu. Three attack errors and a service error by the Sunbirds gave the Seasiders the first run of the night making it 19-13 and forced Fresno Pacific to take a timeout. Fresno Pacific responded with a three point run diminishing the Seasider lead and making it a 17-21 set. A late run by the Sunbirds closed the point gap again as BYU-Hawaii lead with 23-22. A service error gave the Seasiders the 23-25 set victory.
After the Seasiders had built an early lead in the second set, the Sunbirds were able to pull ahead on a 5-1 run making it a 10-8 game. BYU-Hawaii responded with four-point run with kills from Chen, Afalava and Wolman. Fresno Pacific answered back with a three point run to regain the lead. The Sunbirds went on to build a five point lead and a few communication breakdowns by the Seasiders gave Fresno Pacific the 25-18 equalizing victory.
The third set was tight again as the teams traded points to a 10-10 tie. A kill by Toni Murphy tied the set at 11-11 and sparked a four point Sunbird run to gain the lead. BYU-Hawaii responded with a five point run that included two kills from Chen and once again regained the advantage making it a 16-14 set. The Seasiders went on a three point run to build a 20-16 lead, but the Sunbirds matched the run to pull back within one. The Sunbirds used a 4-0 run to gain the advantage and traded points with the Seasiders to take the third set in a 25-22.
Four consecutive kills, three by Afalava and one by Hsu, gave BYU-Hawaii the three point lead at 8-5 early in the fourth set. A kill by Wolman ignited a five-point run to increase the Seasiders lead to 14-9. After a short interruption, BYU-Hawaii went on a 3-0 run that included a kill from Chen and a service ace by Wolman making it 19-12. At 12-20 the teams jousted for points, until a service ace from Wolman ended it 16-25 and sent the match to a fifth and final set.
Fresno Pacific began the final set with a seven-point run until a kill from Takau and an attack error gave BYU-Hawaii their first two points of the set. The Sunbirds continued their seven point lead all the way to 10-3. A kill from Chen and Afalava decreased the lead to five. At 14-9 BYU-Hawaii mounted a comeback going on a four point run with two kills from Chen to decrease the lead to one, but Fresno Pacific was able to hold on to capture a 15-13 victory.
The Seasiders will continue their homestand with a match on Friday against Notre Dame de Namur at 7:30 p.m. HST in the CAC. Live stats and video will be available online.