Previewing The MPSF Semifinals: BYU vs. Hawaii
Head-to-head so far this season, BYU holds the advantage, sweeping both matches versus the Rainbow Warriors in Provo, Utah. Thursday's match, however, will be played on neutral ground in Long Beach, CA, evening the playing field and guaranteeing that this match will be a battle.
Senior outside hitter Jake Langlois leads the second-seeded Cougars, who ranked second in the nation in the most recent FloVolleyball Men's Volleyball Top 10. Langlois has a team-best 314 kills on the season, ranking 10th nationally with 3.78 kills per set and 14th nationally with a .352 hitting percentage. Behind the service line, he's sixth nationally with .57 aces per set.
Hawaii's big hitter is Netherlands native Stjin van Tilburg. The 6-foot-8 sophomore opposite ranks 10th nationally with a .390 hitting percentage and third in kills per set with 4.34.
Both teams' setters run a deadly offense, with 6-4 BYU quarterback Leo Durkin clocking in at fifth in the nation with 10.45 assists per set and 6-5 Hawaii setter Jennings Franciskovic averaging 10.14 assists per set, good for eighth nationally.
In the quarterfinals, Hawaii set the tone at the net, accumulating 17.5 team blocks in a three-set victory over Pepperdine. Redshirt freshman middle Patrick Gasman led that effort with eight block assists, while setter Franciskovic added five block assists and a solo.
BYU's quarterfinal defeat of Stanford featured a stellar performance by opposite Tim Dobbert, who had a match-high 13 kills with four errors to hit .333. As a team, BYU hit .315 to Stanford's .182.
The semifinal between BYU and Hawaii will be a battle of giants, with both teams fielding intimidating front lines and filling in the gaps with scrappy liberos--Larry Tuileta for Hawaii and Erik Sikes for BYU.
It's a match you won't want to miss. Watch the MPSF semifinals LIVE, only on FloVolleyball, starting at 5 PM PT on Thursday, April 20.
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