(Photo by BYU Photo)
LONG BEACH, Calif. – No. 2 seed BYU men’s volleyball fell to No. 3 seed Hawai’i in straight sets (25-22, 25-23, 25-22) in the semifinals of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Tournament Thursday night at Walter Pyramid.
“Congrats to Hawai'i for advancing,” BYU head coach Shawn Olmstead said. “They put a bunch of pressure on us from the service line. We just couldn't get our team in system. Our hitters had to battle through that. They made good touches defensively and were in good spots. I think it started from the pressure of them serving. Hawai'i deserves to advance and get another chance to play.”
Jake Langlois led the Cougars with 15 kills on a .462 clip. Ben Patch and Brenden Sander had 14 and 11 kills, respectively. Leo Durkin set the team with 40 assists while Erik Sikes chipped in seven digs in the setback.
BYU (24-4) and Hawai’i (26-4) stayed close to start the first set as a Sander ace gave the Cougars a 9-8 edge. BYU remained ahead 17-15 after a Price Jarman and Durkin block. The Rainbow Warriors quickly countered with a 4-1 run to go up 20-19, forcing a Cougar timeout. Back-to-back BYU attack errors gave Hawai’i a 24-21 lead before a kill from the Rainbow Warriors’ Stijn van Tilburg ended the set 25-22 with a kill.
Hawai’i started the second set with a pair of blocks, but that was quickly followed with two kills from Patch to give the Cougars a 4-3 lead. A Sander kill from the back row evened the score at 13-all, and another Sander ace gave BYU an 18-16 advantage. The Rainbow Warriors followed with a 6-2 rally to take a 22-20 lead, but the Cougars scored the next three points, capped off by a Sander tool off the block, to go up 23-22. Hawai’i came back, however, winning the next three points to take the close set 25-23.
The Rainbow Warriors jumped out to a 3-0 advantage to start the third set after a pair of kills and an ace. BYU came back to take a 7-6 lead on a Langlois kill, but Hawai’i scored the next three to retake the 9-7 edge. A pair of Sander kills brought the Cougars within one, down 13-12, and a Langlois solo block put BYU ahead 15-14. The Cougars led by as many as three at 18-15, but the Rainbow Warriors came back to even the score at 19 apiece. Hawai’i stayed in control through the rest of the set, winning the set and match 25-22 on a kill.
The Cougars next hope for an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament. The selection show begins Sunday, April 23, at 11 a.m. MDT, streamed live on NCAA.com.