AZUSA, Calif. – BYU-Hawaii women's volleyball dropped a five-set heartbreaker (19-25, 25-15, 20-25, 25-18, 15-9) to Azusa Pacific on Friday despite three players recording double-digit kills.
"We needed the girls to step up after we found out we'd be playing without [Shih Ting (Stella) Chen] tonight," BYU-Hawaii head coach Mona Ah Hoy said. "I am really proud of how they responded in a tough match on the road. We had contributions from everyone that stepped onto the court. Unfortunately, we weren't able to close out the final two sets."
Lacey Lange led the team with 14 kills and logged six digs. Talia Afalava recorded her first double-double of her collegiate career with 11 kills and 16 digs. Kalistina Takau added ten kills on the night and led the team with a .476 hitting percentage.
The teams were evenly matched tying the first set at 6-6, but from then on BYU-Hawaii was able to utilize small runs to build a sustainable lead with kills from Ariel Hsu, Talia Afalava, Lacey Lange and a service ace from Noel Pauga Wolman. Azusa Pacific was able to get within two points of the lead, but at 15-13, the Seasiders exploded and utilized small runs with kills from Wolman, Hsu, Kalistina Takau and Afalava in order to finish the first set 19-25 in favor of BYU-Hawaii.
Azusa Pacific maintained a small lead to begin set two, but kills from Afalava and Takau tied the set at 6-6. The Cougars answered with a four-point run to take a 10-6 lead. At 14-11, Azusa Pacific added a 7-0 run to extend the lead to ten points as they coasted to victory.
The Seasiders responded in the third set using a six-point run to gain a 10-4 lead. A small 3-0 run started by a kill from Lange and including a kill from Erh Fang (Ariel) Hsu increased the Seasider lead 15-6 in the middle of the third set. A service ace from Hsu a few rallies later made the set 17-9 in favor of BYU-Hawaii. The Cougars had a three-point run late in the set to cut into the Seasiders' lead, but several Azusa Pacific errors helped BYU-Hawaii secure a 25-20 victory.
The fourth set began with both teams trading point, until a service error began the Seasider five-point run forcing Azusa Pacific to take a timeout with the Cougars trailing 9-6. Azusa Pacific retaliated with four consecutive points to retake the lead. BYU-Hawaii responded again with a five-point run including two kills from Takau, a kill from both Lange and Tonga and a service ace from Afalava to retake the lead. It wasn't enough as an eight point run gave the Cougars the set victory at 25-18 and sent the match to the fifth and final set.
Neither team gained the advantaged early in the final set matching points every other play. A kill by Kathleen Collette tied the set at 4-4 and a follow-up kill by Takau gave the Seasiders their first lead of the final set. The lead was short lived as Azusa Pacific countered with a three point run making it 7-5 mid-set. BYU-Hawaii tied the set up at 7-7 with a kill from Collette and bad set by the Cougars, but a six-point Cougar run at 9-9 ended the set and gave Asuza Pacific the home victory.
The Seasiders will conclude their road trip with a match against Cal Baptist tomorrow at 2 p.m. PST. Live stats and video will be available online.