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PROVO, Utah (Feb. 23, 2007)--A hot offensive performance coupled with a strong floor defensive effort led No. 4 BYU to a 3-1 win over No. 12 Hawaii.
The Cougars (10-4, 6-3 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation) hit a scorching .455 compared to the Warriors' .244. BYU also combined for 53 digs. The win snapped the Cougars current four-match skid.
"I told the guys that if we out-dug them tonight we would win," co-head coach Shawn Patchell said. "We spent some extra time in the gym on our floor defense. I think it paid off tonight."
BYU was led on the outside by Yosleyder Cala, who had a double-double with 26 kills and 11 digs. Ivan Perez added 23 kills on a .529 hitting percentage while adding eight digs. Russell Holmes led BYU's blocking with one block solo and six block assists while collecting 10 kills and two service aces.
"Ivan and Cala had great nights," Patchell said. "I was also happy with Joel Silva. He passed and dug the ball well for us."
The Cougars attack got off to a hot start. With BYU ahead 6-5, the Cougars went on a 4-1 run, capped by a long rally and Cala kill after a pair of highlight-reel pancake digs. The Warriors came back, scoring four consecutive points and taking their first lead of the game, a 12-11 advantage. The two teams traded runs throughout the middle of the first set with Hawaii building a two-point lead at 22-20. Ahead 25-24, the Warriors reeled off four consecutive points capped by a Matt Rawson kill to take an insurmountable lead. Hawaii took the set on a Jim Clar kill after a 3-0 BYU run.
The Cougars hit .486 as a team in the first game, with Perez leading the way with eight kills. BYU had four players hit over .600 in the opening set.
In the second game, the Cougars jumped out to an early 5-1 lead on a pair of Stowell kills and a block by Stowell and Holmes. After Hawaii responded with a short spurt, BYU came back with a 6-1 run to go ahead 14-8. The Cougars were able to maintain their early large lead. BYU took the game on five-consecutive points, including four-consecutive kills.
After a .429 hitting performance in the first game, the Cougars held the Warriors to just a .061 swinging clip in the second game. Defensively BYU picked up 6.5 team blocks in and 18 digs in the second game.
With the Cougars ahead 7-6 in game three, BYU built on its lead with a 4-1 run to go ahead 11-7. Hawaii countered with four consecutive points to tie the game and start a see-saw battle in the third set. The Cougars picked up a pair of back-to-back point spurts to open a 21-17 lead. Stowell stepped to the service line and BYU scored seven in a row to build a 28-18 advantage. After three points from the Warriors, the Cougars finished game three with a service error off Matt Vanzant's hand.
The fourth set remained close throughout with BYU jumping to four point leads twice early on. The resilient Warriors erased the big Cougars' leads twice before BYU built a five-point advantage at 24-19. The Cougars held on to lead this time, trading points with the Warriors before finishing Hawaii off on a Lauri Hakala hitting error.
The same two teams will square off again on Saturday evening at 7 p.m. at the Smith Fieldhouse.