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Friday, March 19, 2004



[ WARRIOR VOLLEYBALL ]


art
FL MORRIS / FMORRIS@STARBULLETIN.COM
Hawaii's Matt Bender hit past BYU's Fernando Pessoa during last night's match at the Stan Sheriff Center. The Cougars won in four.


Cougars beat up
on UH reserves

The Warriors’ late comeback
falls short of beating No. 1 BYU


Enthusiasm can only lift you so high. Emotion can only take you so far.

It can't compensate for a lack of experience of playing together, let alone playing together for the first time after four practices. It won't get you many blocks when the mismatch is a legitimate 6-foot-7 going against a reserve hitter a little short of the 6-3 listed on the roster.

But still ... it was very inspired and inspiring volleyball.

Few gave fifth-ranked Hawaii much of a chance against No. 1 Brigham Young last night. The Warriors were playing without three suspended starters -- about 60 percent of their offense -- and with a group that had practiced together four times.

Hawaii gave it a valiant effort but just wasn't enough to stop the Cougars from picking up their 15th consecutive victory. Thanks to a 30-25, 30-25, 28-30, 30-27 win, BYU (16-3, 14-1) increased its lead in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation to two games over second-place Pepperdine.

The Stan Sheriff Center crowd of 3,238 was supportive throughout the 2-hour, 20-minute match, reserving their loudest cheers as Hawaii (13-6, 10-5) left the court. Tomorrow's 7 p.m. rematch should be very interesting.

"We played hard and left everything we had out there," said sophomore hitter Matt Bender, putting down a match-high 23 kills. "This was like my national championship for me out there. I can't believe I get to do it again Saturday.

"We know we can play with anyone. At the end, maybe it was the little things that hurt us the most."

The Warriors hung tough throughout, with it finally paying off in Game 3. Hawaii got its middle attack and its block going, with three blocks helping push the Warriors' margin to 20-14.

Hawaii served for the game at 29-25 only to have BYU rally with three points to close to 29-28. Bender put down his 15th kill to end it, giving the Warriors life.

Game 4 was nearly as close. At 18-18, the Cougars ran off three unanswered points to seemingly take control. The teams traded points before the Warriors went off for three straight points, two on kills by Bender, to tie it at 22.

Fernando Pessoa put down two of his team-high 18 kills and two hitting errors by Bender put BYU ahead 26-22. The Warriors wouldn't give up, using stubborn defense and three errors by the Cougars to close to 26-25.

It was 27-26 when Hawaii's serving again fell apart, giving BYU two of the final three points it needed to finish off the match. The Warriors had 20 service errors to the Cougars' 12.

"I feel good about how we played," said Warrior coach Mike Wilton. "At the end, we missed some key serves. But we were right in there pitching all the way."

Hawaii led as late as 13-12 in Game 2. But serving proved their downfall: Their serves (seven errors) and a serving run by Pessoa put the Cougars ahead for good at 15-12.

"I thought they played better and better as the match went on," said BYU coach Tom Peterson. "That was frustrating for us. It's frustrating not to feel like we played our best. A lot of it has to do with what they did.

"We weren't very prepared to go what we needed to do physically or mentally to play a decent match. At times it seemed like we were dead out there and going through the motions. I thought they did a fabulous job with their replacements."

But it wasn't quite enough.

"I think mentally we needed a little more at the end," said senior Ryan Woodward, making his first career start. "For me, I have not regrets. I finally made it to this level and it was fun. There were times that I started smiling for no reason out there. It was fun to finally make it."

Woodward cramped up after Game 3 but still managed nine kills. That was seven more than his combined total in three seasons. Senior hitter Arri Jeschke, also making his first career start, added 12 kills and senior blocker Josh Stanhiser added 11.

Jonathan Alleman had 13 kills and Michael Burke added 11 for BYU.

Hawaii ended up out-blocking BYU, 10-9. Sophomore libero Alfred Reft had a match-high 13 digs for the Warriors.

"This gave us a good jump on Saturday," said Reft. "We just need to step it up a little more, play a little harder, and we'll be fine."


MPSF standings


Conference Overall

W L Pct. W L
BYU 14 1 .933 16 3
Long Beach St. 12 3 .800 17 4
UCLA 12 4 .750 18 4
Hawaii 10 5 .667 13 6
CSU Northridge 9 5 .643 14 6
Pepperdine 7 6 .539 11 6
UC Santa Barbara 6 8 .429 11 9
Stanford 4 9 .308 7 11
USC 4 9 .308 6 14
UC Irvine 4 12 .250 7 15
UC San Diego 3 12 .200 6 13
Pacific 2 12 .143 6 15

Wednesday's results
UCLA def. UCI, 3-1
CSU Northridge def. IPFW, 3-1
Last night's result
BYU 3, Hawaii 1
Tomorrow's matches
BYU at Hawaii, 7 p.m.
Pepperdine at USC


BYU def. Hawaii

30-25, 30-25, 28-30, 30-27

Cougars (16-3, 14-1 MPSF)

g k e att pct. bs ba d
Burke 4 11 3 22 .364 0 5 2
Moreno 4 5 3 12 .167 1 5 8
Carpenter 2 0 0 0 .000 0 0 0
Tillman 4 9 4 28 .179 0 1 6
Alleman 4 13 8 24 .208 0 2 6
Neilson 4 0 0 0 .000 0 0 0
Olmstead 4 0 0 0 .000 0 0 9
Pessoa 4 18 4 25 .560 0 1 9
Batista 4 7 4 15 .200 0 3 1
Totals 4 63 26 126 .294 1 17 41

Warriors (13-6, 10-5 MPSF)

g k e att pct. bs ba d
Tuyay 4 3 0 3 1.000 0 3 4
Muise 4 0 0 0 .000 0 0 0
Jeschke 4 12 3 22 .409 0 3 5
Reft 4 0 0 0 .000 0 0 13
Bender 4 23 12 55 .200 1 3 4
Woodward 4 9 11 29 -.069 0 0 3
LaBarre 4 8 2 13 .462 2 4 1
Stanhiser 4 11 2 21 .429 0 2 2
Totals 4 66 30 143 .252 3 15 32

Key -- g: games; k: kills; e: hitting errors; att: attempts; pct.: hitting percentage; bs: block solos; ba: block assists; d: digs.
Aces -- BYU (2): Tillman 2. Hawaii (2): Tuyay, Jeschke. Assists -- BYU (59): Moreno 55, Pessoa 2, Alleman, Olmstead. Hawaii (62): Tuyay 58, Reft 3, Stanhiser.
T -- 2:20. Officials -- Ernest Ho, Dan Hironaka. A -- 3,238.

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