Freshman Miki Jauhiainen's career high in blocks helped No. 3 BYU take down No. 4 Hawai'i in three sets (25-19, 25-23, 28-26) Saturday night at the Smith Fieldhouse.
"I thought our guys' approach tonight was strong," BYU head coach Shawn Olmstead said. "I'm really proud of them for being calm and scoring points when they needed it. It solidifies a lot of their work and with a win over a team like Hawai'i, they'll continue to grow and take confidence into the next match. We're just going to keep focusing on getting better. I feel like we're making strides, especially in blocking."
Senior Jake Langlois contributed 12 kills and six blocks, while junior Brenden Sander recorded 12 kills of his own. Tim Dobbert was the third player to post double-digit kills as he finished with 11 kills and seven digs. Jauhiainen set the defense with a career-high eight blocks as BYU (19-2, 13-1 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation) had a season-high 14 blocks in the win.
Back-to-back Hawai’i (20-4, 10-4 MPSF) errors gave BYU a 6-4 lead at the beginning of the first set. The Cougars continued to pull ahead as a Sander service ace extended the advantage, 12-7, forcing the Rainbow Warriors to take a timeout. BYU fed off momentum from a Langlois kill to go on a 6-1 run and put the Cougars up 18-9. Hawai’i answered with the next three points to chip away at the lead, but it wasn’t enough as BYU won the set 25-19 on a Langlois kill.
A dominating Sander kill kicked off the second set before the Rainbow Warriors countered with a trio of kills. Hawai’i scored six of the next nine points to extend its lead, 9-6. BYU closed the gap, 11-10, on a Langlois service ace, but the Rainbow Warriors jumped ahead and maintained a four-point edge. A Sikes to Langlois kill cut the deficit, 19-17, before BYU rallied to come back and tie the match 23-all. A Hawai’i attack error capped off the Cougars’ 7-1 run to take the second set 25-23.
Sander and Joseph Grosh teamed up for a block as the Cougars led 5-3 to open the third set. The Rainbow Warriors notched a pair of kills to tie the set at 7 apiece before BYU pulled ahead 13-10 on a Jauhiainen service ace. The Cougars led by as many as five before Hawai’i fought back with a 6-0 run to take the lead, 20-19. A Dobbert kill put BYU back in play as the Cougars tied the match 22-all. Both teams battled back and forth to send the set into extra points before Langlois and Jauhiainen teamed up for the match-winning block as BYU won 28-26.
Next up for BYU is Princeton on Tuesday, March 21, at 7 p.m. MDT, at the Smith Fieldhouse. The match will be broadcast on BYUtv and simulcast on BYU Radio – Sirius XM 143.
Sydney Jorgensen is the men's tennis SID at Brigham Young University. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org