Tonga propels Seasiders to opening match victory

LAIE, Hawaii – Sinamoni Tonga's double-double led the Seasiders to a 3-2 victory (25-27, 26-24, 22-25, 25-23, 15-10) in their season opener against Simon Fraser in the Hawaii Invitational Tournament Thursday afternoon at the Cannon Activities Center.

Tonga led all players in kills with 23 and also added 11 digs. Sophomores Leilani Adolpho and Malary Reid were key contributors on the court, combining for 25 kills, seven blocks and nine digs. Ying Chun (Michelle) Chen picked up where she left off in the 2013 season, recording a double-double of 53 assists and 17 digs in the match to propel BYU-Hawaii to their first season win. Chen also tied a program-high for the rally-scoring era with seven services aces.

After a kill by Adolpho to start the first set, both teams struggled to gain the lead. Simon Fraser was able to slowly build a 15-12 lead, but BYU-Hawaii went on a four-point run to take the one-point lead. After the teams traded points to a tie at 25-25, Simon Fraser's Tessa May sealed the 27-25 victory with a kill.

BYU-Hawaii started strong in the second set with a service ace by Chen, igniting a 6-2 run for the Seasiders. Tonga had her best set, recording eight kills and helping BYU-Hawaii maintain the lead to secure a 26-24 win.

The match remained close in the third set as both teams kept within two points of each other until the Clan grabbed the final three points to take the 25-22 victory.

The fourth set began with a three-point run by BYU-Hawaii, sparked with a kill by Reid. She also ended the set with a kill, leading the team to a tightly-contested 25-23 victory.

The Seasiders started the fifth and final set with a 5-1 run propelled by the strong service game from Chen. The Clan battled back to close within one at 10-9, but Reid took over with two blocks and a kill to give the Seasiders the 15-10 win.

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