BYU advances in tournament with five-set thriller

(Photo by BYU Photo/Jaren Wilkey)

PROVO, Utah - The No. 1 seed BYU men's volleyball team defeated No. 8 seed Hawaii 3-2 (25-19, 20-25, 22-25, 25-12, 15-13) on Saturday in the MPSF Quarterfinals to advance in the tournament. 

With the win BYU advances to play in the MPSF Semifinals next Thursday at 8 p.m. MDT against No. 4 seed UCLA and will be live on BYUtv. As the highest seed, the Cougars will host the rest of the MPSF tournament. 

"Hawai’i has been playing for their lives these last three weeks," said BYU head coach Chris McGown. "I thought we played well in the first, the fourth and the fifth but kind of lost our way a little bit in the second and third. The first round of the playoffs are often hard - the guys are in the middle of finals and have a lot going on. Thank goodness we had a wonderful crowd behind us. It was as loud as I’ve heard it in here. My favorite parts of the match were hearing our crowd get after those guys and supporting us."

Video Highlights and Interviews

In the decisive fifth set, to determine which team would advance, both teams traded points to start. The set tied at 3s, 4s and 5s before finally the Cougars were able to put together a small run and take a 7-5 lead. The Warriors responded with a run of their own to tie the score at 7-7. 

The score tied again at 11s, 12s and 13s. A kill from Ben Patch gave the Cougars match point and a Hawaii error secured the 15-13 victory. 

Patch led all players with 25 kills and a .456 attack. Taylor Sander was the other BYU player in double figures with 13. The Cougars registered 9.5 blocks to Hawaii's 6.5 and hit .369 compared to the Warriors' .319. 

After taking an early 6-0 lead, the Cougars cruised to a 25-19 victory in the first set while never allowing the Warriors to get the score closer than four points. Patch and Sander led the squad with five kills apiece in the first set.

Hawaii fought back in the second set, taking a 5-2 lead after back-to-back errors from the home team. BYU tied things up at 11-11 after Sander's second ace of the night but the Warriors regained the lead and took a 22-17 advantage. After BYU fought off two set points, Hawaii eventually took the 25-20 victory to tie the match at 1-1. 

Three-straight kils from Patch gave BYU an early 4-1 lead in the third set. The Cougars kept the lead but Hawaii fought its way back in and tied the score at 11-11 before going on a 4-0 run and taking the lead at 16-12. BYU responded with a 5-0 run of its own, highlighted by an ace from Josue Rivera and capped by a kill from Patch, to take back the lead. After keeping the score close, Hawaii finished the set on a 3-0 run to take the 25-22 victory and 2-1 lead in the match. 

The fourth set was all BYU, with the Cougars taking the first lead at 3-0. Hawaii pulled within two, down 7-5, but that's the closest they would get all set. The Cougars went on an 8-2 run to take a double-digit 20-10 lead on their way to a 25-12 victory in the fourth. BYU went on the secure the match victory in the fifth set.

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