CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa -- Shih Ting (Stella) Chen posted a career-best 37 kills to lead BYU-Hawaii in a 3-2 (21-25, 32-30, 25-19, 25-27, 16-14) win against Ferris State to advance to the semifinals of the NCAA Division II championship.
The Seasiders (28-1) will take on West Texas A&M (35-3) at 6 p.m. Friday in the semifinals at the U.S. Cellular Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Chen led the match with her 37 kills to go along with 22 digs, hitting at an efficient .326. Fellow All-America selection Ying Chun (Michelle) Chen also set a career best with 65 assists. Erh Fang (Ariel) Hsu notched 15 kills while Noel Pauga added 10 kills.
The match was up and down and thrilling, with BYU-Hawaii dropping the first set, winning the next two and then going to fifth and final set to win it.
In the first set, BYU-Hawaii fell behind 8-5 after back-to-back aces from the Bulldogs. A run and strong blocking at the net from Ferris State stretched its lead to 17-10 to force the Seasiders to regroup in a timeout. Out of the break BYU-Hawaii came back to trim the deficit to 19-15 and later got within two at 22-20. The Seasiders kept things close but eventually fell 25-21.
BYU-Hawaii took 10-8 lead in the second set. The Bulldogs answered to tie things up at 13-13 but the Seasiders responded to regain control with a 17-14 lead. Down the stretch Ferris State continued to give BYU-Hawaii problems, coming back to take a 21-20 lead. Stella Chen tied things up 23-23 with a soft kill over the net. Both teams went point-for-point well into extras with the score tied 30-30. A big block from Pauga and Lacy Miyahira gave BYU-Hawaii a 31-30 lead and Stella Chen got the next one down for a 32-30 win to even the match at 1-1.
Tied 7-7 in the third set, the Seasiders went on a 3-0 run to pick up a 10-7 advantage. BYU-Hawaii started to find its rhythm, jumping out to a 15-9 lead. The Bulldogs started to make a run trailing 19-15 but a kill from Huafa Saulala squashed the run to swing the momentum back to the Seasiders. BYU-Hawaii pulled away in the third set for a 25-19 win, taking a 2-1 match lead.
Both teams were close in the start of the fourth set tied at 7-7. The back-and-forth set continued and Ferris State used a 3-0 run to make it a 14-11 in its favor. The Seasiders hung around a three-point deficit before Stella Chen picked up her 32nd kill, making it 22-20, sparking BYU-Hawaii for one more run. The team tied it up at 24-24 but dropped set No. 4 27-25 to head to a fifth and final set.
The fifth set started like the others, tight and tied at 4-4 before the Seasiders got five in a row to take a 9-4 lead. With advancing to the semifinals in sight, BYU-Hawaii wouldn't have it easy and the Bulldogs put together an 8-0 run to make it 14-14. Ferris State hit one out to end the run and give BYU-Hawaii a 15-14 lead. Stella Chen slammed one final kill home to win it 16-14 and take the match 3-2.