Warrior Volleyball opens MPSF Tournament at #1 BYU

Brook Sedore // Hawai'i Athletics
Brook Sedore // Hawai'i Athletics

With an improbable end to the regular season, the University of Hawai’i men’s volleyball team returns to postseason play with a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Tournament quarterfinal match against top-ranked BYU, Saturday, April 20 at Smith Fieldhouse in Provo, Utah.

The 15th-ranked Warriors (11-16) needed to win out last weekend and have Cal State Northridge lose its two matches in order to qualify for the tournament. Both happened and UH found itself back in the field after missing out last season. Hawai’i earned the eighth and final spot in the eight-team tournament.

UH will make its third tournament appearance under head coach Charlie Wade. The Warriors lost in the quarterfinals in 2011 at UC Irvine and advanced to the semifinals in 2010 with a win over Pepperdine in the quarters before losing to host Stanford.

Hawai’i is 1-4 all-time against BYU in the MPSF Tournament with its only win in the semifinals in 2001 when the Cougars were the top-seed and tourney host. The teams last met in the tournament in 2003 in the semifinals in Malibu, Calif., with BYU winning in three straight. Three of the five meetings have occurred in Smith Fieldhouse.

The teams opened this season in Provo with BYU winning the opener in straight sets and the rematch in four.

Match #28 – MPSF Tournament Quarterfinals
Who: No. 15 Hawai’i (11-16, 10-14 MPSF) vs. No. 1 BYU (22-4, 21-3 MPSF)
When: Saturday, April 20
Time: 7:00 p.m. MT (3:00 p.m. HT)
Where: Smith Fieldhouse; Provo, Utah
Television Coverage: BYUtv (Oceanic Digital Ch. 409) will televise the match live with Jarom Jordan and Steve Fidel.
Streaming Video: Available at byutvsports.com
Radio Coverage: ESPN 1420 AM will air the match live with Tiff Wells calling the action.
Audio Webcast: Available at http://www.espn1420am.com
Live Stats: Available at byucougars.com

Series Information: BYU leads the overall series 33-17 and have won 12 of the last 14 in the series, including this year’s season-opening sweep at the Smith Fieldhouse. In Provo, BYU holds a commanding 20-3 advantage, which includes a current 10-match win streak. The Warriors have not won in Provo since splitting a two-match series in 2003.

Recapping This Year’s BYU Series: The Warriors dropped both ends of its season-opening series with BYU. The Cougars won the opener 25-18, 25-22, 25-17 and the rematch, 25-21, 25-21, 24-26, 25-20. UH hit .101 and .162, respectively, and could not find an answer for All-American Taylor Sander, who had a combined 32 kills, averaging 4.57 per set, while hitting .519. The Cougars had 28 total blocks in the series, including 17 in the four-set win. In the opener, newcomer Jace Olsen led the Warriors with 10 kills but hit -.034 with 11 errors. JP Marks had a team-high 14 kills in the rematch and set career-highs with three aces and four blocks along with eight digs.

UH In the MPSF Tournament: Since 1993, the first year of the MPSF, the Warriors have qualified for the MPSF Tournament 16 times and own a 11-16 record. UH snapped a skid of four straight first round losses after defeating Pepperdine in five sets in 2010 at the Stan Sheriff Center. UH is 8-8 in first round matches but have never won a road match in six chances after its most recent loss to UC Irvine in 2011. UH also has never won the MPSF Tournament despite advancing to the championship match three times (1995, 2001, 2002).

UH vs. BYU In the MPSF Tournament: The teams have met five times in the MPSF Tournament with the Cougars winning four of those match-ups. Three of the matches have occurred at Smith Fieldhouse in Provo where UH won its only meeting in the semifinals in 2001.

Playoff Bound: Under head coach Charlie Wade, the Warriors have advanced to postseason play three times in four years. In 2011, Wade became the first coach in program history to lead his team to consecutive postseason appearances in his first two seasons as coach with an MPSF Tournament quarterfinal loss to UC Irvine. In 2010, Wade led UH to the MPSF Tournament semifinals, where they lost to eventual national champion Stanford. The Warriors snapped a two-year tournament drought and hosted and won a five-set quarterfinal round match against Pepperdine.

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