It was definitely a match that the University of Hawaii could have won, but its improbable postseason volleyball run came to a frustrating finish.
Jace Olsen’s would-be game-tying point for the Warriors was overturned in the fifth set Saturday, and BYU advanced to the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation semifinals with a 25-19, 20-25, 22-25, 25-12, 15-13 victory in Provo, Utah.
The decisive set was tied seven times and neither team led by more than two points. Hawaii initially thought Olsen’s kill set up an eighth deadlock at 14-14. However, according to a Hawaii sports information office release, the referees ruled that Nick West’s foot crossed the centerline — which the TV replays appeared to confirm — giving the Cougars (23-4) the match.
Later, referees ruled the call as an illegal set on Joby Ramos as he jump-set from the backrow, though other game officials were told that the infraction was against Olsen for an illegal backrow attack. However, Olsen was in the front row at the time.
It was a tough pill to swallow for a Hawaii team that earned the league’s final playoff spot on the last day of the regular season and then took a 2-1 lead against the top seed on its home court despite again playing without regular starters JP Marks (ineligible) and Sinisa Zarkovic (foot injury).
Taylor Averill moved to outside hitter and posted a career-high 16 kills on .393 hitting and opposite hitter Brook Sedore contributed 18. Olsen put down nine and Davos Holt added eight for UH, which was outhit .369-.319 in its 14th five-set match of the season.
However, the hitting disparity was large (.409-.038) as the Cougars dominated the fourth set.
Ben Patch tallied 25 kills and league player of the year Taylor Sander had 13 for BYU, which will face fourth-seeded UCLA in the semifinals on Thursday.
All four higher-seeded teams advanced Saturday. The Bruins beat Pepperdine 25-19, 25-18, 25-18; No. 2 Cal Irvine edged Cal Santa Barbara 25-19, 20-25, 22-25, 25-12, 15-13; and No. 3 Long Beach State bested Stanford 25-21, 25-17, 30-28.