SAINT GEORGE, Utah - BYU-Hawaii women's volleyball remained atop the PacWest Conference after a four set victory (27-25, 20-25, 26-24, 25-12) over Dixie State on Wednesday night in the Student Activity Center.
"Dixie State has been a tough team to beat at home this year and tonight was no different," BYU-Hawaii head coach Mona Ah Hoy said. "We started out slowly in each of the first three sets and their fans really got into the match to energize their team. We ended up trying several different lineups to try and spark us, but I don't think we were really able to find our rhythm until that last set."
Shih Ting (Stella) Chen led BYU-Hawaii (18-4, 15-1 PacWest) to with 29 kills and 18 digs. The 29 kills tied her for the third highest kill total in the NCAA Division II for a four set match this season. Elizabeth Blake Solaita also had a double-double with 52 assists and 12 digs. Kalistina Takau added seven kills, three blocks and finished the match with a .400 hitting percentage.
The first set started as a back and forth fight with the teams tying every other point. Dixie State (17-8, 14-3 PacWest) was able to pull away for a 13-7 lead, but the Seasiders were able to close the gap to 15-13 after a four point run that featured kills from Chen and Noel Pauga Wolman. They continued the seesaw battle until a kill by Takau tied the set at 23-23. After trading the next four points, BYU-Hawaii completed the comeback with a kill by Chen and a Dixie State error to take the first set 27-25.
Erh Fang (Ariel) Hsu started the second set with a kill, but Dixie fired back with a three point run to take the lead for good in the set. The Red Storm used a 4-0 run to extend their lead to 19-12 near the end of the set. BYU-Hawaii attempted to comeback for the second straight set with a three point run to cut the lead to 19-15 in favor of Dixie, but it was the closest they would get as the Red Storm tied the match at a set a piece with the 25-20 victory.
BYU-Hawaii looked as if it would cruise in the third set after Chen's three kills sparked an early seven point run to take an 8-3 lead. However, the Red Storm came back with a 5-0 run of their own to tie the set 8-8. They continued to exchange points until a kill by Dixie's Maddie Rex gave the Red Storm an 18-17 lead. Dixie State's six point run was put to an end when Chen brought the score to 22-18. A three point run for the Seasiders closed the gap to 23-21, but the Red Storm got to set point after another kill by Rex. BYU-Hawaii didn't back down as two kills by Erh Fang (Ariel) Hsu and a service ace by Wolman led a 5-0 run to give the Seasiders a 26-24 victory.
Early in the fourth set, the Seasiders had a six point run that included two service aces by Solaita, two kills by Takau, and a kill by Chen to take an 8-1 lead. Another five point run led by two kills by Talia Afalava brought the score to 14-3 in favor of BYU-Hawaii and the Red Storm trailed the Seasiders by 10 points for the majority of the set. Chen recorded six more kills in the set as BYU-Hawaii quieted the crowd on the way to a 25-12 victory.
BYU-Hawaii heads to California to face Azusa Pacific on Friday at 7 pm PST. Live stats will be available online.