HONOLULU—Swept for only the second time this season, No. 2 BYU men’s volleyball couldn’t avenge Friday’s loss and dropped a 3-0 (37-35, 25-20, 25-19) match to No. 10 Hawai’i on the road Saturday.
“I thought that they (Hawai’i) were the best we’d ever seen them play tonight,” BYU head coach Chris McGown said. “They did everything right. We actually passed pretty well, but could never get it rolling offensively. Never quite got the breaks we needed.”
It was the Cougars’ second weekend this season when they lost back-to-back matches. BYU (18-6, 18-4 MPSF) hadn’t lost two matches in a row since losing to Loyola and Lewis in the same weekend to start the season.
BYU picked up a 5-4 lead in the first set, until a Hawai’i service ace tied the set at 11. Two Cougar attack errors put the Warriors ahead 14-12. Sander and Hatch combined to block Hawai’i’s Brook Sedore twice, tying up the score 17-17.
After BYU fell behind 20-17, three attack errors by the Warriors tied the set at 21. The teams went back and forth, facing 14 more ties before Hawai’i pulled ahead by two on a kill, closing out the Cougars’ longest set of the season 37-35. Sander finished the set with nine kills.
Freshman Tim Dobbert came out strong in the second set with two kills to tie the score 2-2, but a 6-1 run put Hawai’i ahead 9-4. Another 6-1 run set the Warriors up 20-13. Dobbert helped cut down the deficit with a kill and a block, pushing BYU’s score to 20-15.
Kills by Hatch and Sander had the Cougars within three at 23-20, but a kill and BYU attack error gave the set to Hawai’i 25-20.
The Cougars started the third set down 5-2. Accurate hitting by its opponent increased BYU’s deficit to 10-5. Allowing a 4-0 run, the Cougars found themselves behind 22-14. BYU couldn’t find an answer to Hawai’i’s Sinisa Zarkovic, who finished with 22 kills on .410 hitting. The Warriors ended the set 25-19.
“I think we’ve got some perspective about the loss,” McGown said. “We’re certainly concerned, losing two here. Now we have to go on the road and play two tough matches again. We don’t want to finish the regular season with losses going into the playoffs, so we need to regroup a little bit and go to battle again this weekend.”
The Cougars face UC Santa Barbara Friday and UCLA Saturday, both at 7 p.m. PDT. BYU locked up a share of the conference title with its win against UCLA March 29, and will host at least the first round of the MPSF tournament starting April 19.