RIVERSIDE, Calif. – Shih Ting (Stella) Chen returned after missing last night's match to lead BYU-Hawaii women's volleyball to a four-set victory (20-25, 25-21, 25-20, 25-21) over Cal Baptist on Saturday at Van Dyne Gym.
"It was a back-and-forth match," BYU-Hawaii head coach Mona Ah Hoy said. "It felt like every time we would build a lead they would come right back. We were able to make some key runs at key moments with the help of several girls like Sinamoni [Tonga], [Erh Fang (Ariel) Hsu] and Stella."
Chen led all players with 21 kills to go with 13 digs one day after sitting out with a back injury. Hsu added 10 kills and Tonga had eight kills and a .421 hitting percentage. Elizabeth Blake Solaita also had another fantastic outing with 45 assists and four service aces.
The Seasiders (19-5, 16-2 PacWest) started off strong in the first set with a seven-point run led by Chen's three kills and Solaita's two aces to build a 9-3 lead. After trading points, Cal Baptist (15-11, 11-7 PacWest) responded late in the set with a 6-0 run to tie things up at 16-16. The teams again traded the next several points, until another six-point run by the Lancers made it 24-19 on their way to the set victory.
The second set started in a similar fashion with Chen and Kalistina Takau powering an early 4-0 run with a kill and a block assist each to make it 6-3 in BYU-Hawaii's favor. A 3-0 run by the Seasiders a few points later extended their lead to four and back-to-back kills by Chen sparked a 5-0 run to give BYU-Hawaii the 17-9 lead. The Lancers wouldn't go down easy making another late set comeback with separate runs of three points and five points to make it 23-21 in favor of the Seasiders. A kill by Chen and a block by Takau and Solaita ended any further hopes of a Lancer comeback and tied the match at a set a piece.
Neither team gained an advantage in the early going of the third set, until two attacking errors by Cal Baptist gave BYU-Hawaii a slim 10-7 lead. Another ace by Solaita and a kill by Chen powered a small 3-0 run to extend the Seasiders lead to five. The Lancers battled back again with a 3-0 run to close the gap to 22-19, but a powerful kill by Tonga stopped the run and helped BYU-Hawaii close out another set victory.
With BYU-Hawaii leading the fourth set 13-11, Tonga recorded back-to-back kills to start a four-point run for the Seasiders and increase their lead to 17-11. The Lancers continued to battle and closed the gap to 21-18 with a four-point run of their own. Ah Hoy used a timeout to halt their momentum and a block by Malary Reid and Solaita along with a kill by Tonga gave the Seasiders the room they needed for the victory.
BYU-Hawaii returns home to honor their departing seniors on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. HST against Hawaii Pacific at the Cannon Activities Center. The game will be broadcast live on BYUtv with live stats available online.