NAMPA, Idaho – Shih Ting (Stella) Chen became the all-time kills leader for BYU-Hawaii women's volleyball as the Seasiders defeated Central Washington in four-sets (19-25, 25-17, 25-17, 25-19) on Thursday at the Johnson Sports Center.
"In the first set I think that we weren't mentally here," BYU-Hawaii head coach Mona Ah-Hoy said. "We were able to calm down and play our style in the second set and talk more on the court. It was great to see Noel [Pauga Wolman] and [Erh Fang (Ariel) Hsu] really play well and that opened things up for Stella in the last three sets."
As a team, BYU-Hawaii (22-5, 18-2 PacWest) finished with a .323 hitting percentage, while holding Central Washington (19-8, 12-6 GNAC) to a .177 hitting percentage. The Seasiders dominated most of the game, besting the Wildcats in number of kills, assists, service aces, digs and total blocks.
Chen recorded her 18th double-double of the 2014 campaign with 27 kills and 17 digs to go with two service aces and a .355 hitting percentage. With the 27 kills, Chen passed Yu Chuan Weng for first on the all-time kills list at BYU-Hawaii with her 1,789th kill in her career.
Wolman also recorded a double-double, her second of the season, with 18 kills and 10 digs and recorded a .485 hitting percentage. Erh Fang Hsu added 13 kills on the night and lead the team with a .684 hitting percentage. Kalistina Takau gave BYU-Hawaii a strong inside presence with seven block assists in the match.
The first set started with both teams trading points and runs tying ten times before the Wildcats were able to establish a lead. The teams battled to a 6-6 tie featuring two kills from Kalistina Takau, Elizabeth Blake Solaita, Hsu and two from Chen. With the set tied at 13-13, Central Washington found their stride and utilized small runs to build a lead and win the set 25-19.
The Seasiders jumped to an early 5-2 lead in the second set with three consecutive kills from Chen and two Wildcat errors. From that point BYU-Hawaii hit its stride and Central Washington was unable to respond to the Seasiders' offensive pressure. Freshman Sinamoni Tonga recorded three consecutive kills starting at 9-6 to ignite a small 4-0 Seasider run in which Wolman helped with a kill of her own. Another four-point run by BYU-Hawaii built a seven point lead as a kill from Chen and Takau and two from Wolman made it 20-13. A kill by Hsu ended the set 25-17 and the Seasiders tied the sets at 1-1. The set featured six kills from both Chen and Wolman.
BYU-Hawaii led from start to finish in the third set. Early on, Chen and Wolman traded kills during a four-point run for an early 8-2 lead. The Seasiders continued to apply offensive pressure as a crucial kill from Chen to gave BYU-Hawaii a double-digit lead at 17-7. Central Washington tried to make a comeback cutting the lead to seven late in the set, but kills from Chen, Hsu and Wolman secured the win for the Seasiders at 25-17 to give BYU-Hawaii the 2-1 set lead.
The final set started out much like the first one as both teams tied every few points. A kill by Elizabeth Blake Solaita gave the Seasiders the 9-9 tie and sparked a four-point run, which included kills from Wolman and Chen to give BYU-Hawaii a leaed they would hold throughout the rest of the set. A kill by Hsu to make the set 22-14 giving BYU-Hawaii their biggest lead of the set. Central Washington came back to cut the lead to four, but it wasn't enough as Chen polished off her night with a kill and block assist for the final two points of the match.
The Seasiders return to action tomorrow to take on PacWest rival Dixie State in the regional semifinals at 7:30 p.m. MST. Live streaming and stats will be available online.