BYU-Hawaii, Grand Canyon open NCAA II West Region Tournament on Thursday, Nov. 29

BYU-Hawaii Volleyball LAIE, Hawai'i – BYU-Hawaii and Grand Canyon will begin their respective quests for an NCAA II West Region title and a berth in the National Championship Tournament on Thursday, Nov. 29, in Laie, Hawai'i, when the regional tourney gets underway on the island of Oahu's North Shore.

Seven schools from the Mainland have converged on the BYU-Hawaii campus for the three-day, eight-team tournament that will run through Saturday, Dec. 1. The survivor will land a spot in the National Championship Tournament Dec. 6-8 in Pensacola, Fla.

For the second straight year, the PacWest will have multiple teams in the regional, and for the first time in PacWest history, the top two seeds will belong to teams from the conference.

Shih Ting Chen With BYU-Hawaii as the top seed and Grand Canyon slotted #2, the two PacWest teams only could meet in the NCAA II West Region Championship on Dec. 1 at 7 p.m. HAST.

Top-seed BYU-Hawaii (21-3) will take on #8 UC San Diego (20-10) at 7 p.m. HAST in the opening round on Thursday night. A win and the Seasiders will tackle either #4 Western Washington (23-3) or #5 Sonoma State (22-8) in the regional semifinals at 7:30 p.m. HAST on Nov. 30.

The Seasiders have not faced any of the teams they could see in the first two rounds, but BYU-Hawaii did defeat Grand Canyon 3-0 on Sept. 24 in their lone meeting this season.

BYU-Hawaii is led by sophomore OH/MB Shih Ting Chen (Yunlin, Taiwan - left photo), who repeated as the PacWest Player of the Year while claiming All-PacWest First Team honors for the second consecutive season.

Ying Chun Chen Chen was one of six Seasiders earning all-conference accolades, and she was the only 2012 Daktronics Division II West Region First Team selection who earned First Team honors in 2011.

In 24 matches and 78 sets so far this year, Chen has hit .354 and averaged 4.36 kills per set. She also totaled 381.5 points on the season and averaged 4.89 points during each set.

Joining Chen on the All-PacWest First Team were sophomore setter Ying Chun Chen (Kaohsiung, Taiwan - right photo) – the 2011 PacWest Freshman of the Year – and junior OH Lauren Hagemeyer (Ridgway, CO/Ridgway) who earned her third straight All-PacWest First Team selection this season.

Ying Chun Chen has compiled 928 assists and averaged 11.90 per set this year, while Hagemeyer has produced 3.88 points and 3.36 kills per set while hitting .372.

Chen was voted the NCAA Division II Daktronics West Region Volleyball Player of the Year, while both she and Hagemeyer were named to the NCAA II West Region Second Team.

Grand Canyon University BYU-Hawaii junior libero Melanie Manutai (Honolulu, HI/Moanalua) will help ignite the Seasiders in the post-season this year after she earned All-PacWest Second Team honors. Manutai has posted a .934 reception percentage and 3.04 digs per set so far this season, while sophomore MB Erh Fang Hsu (Yunlin, Taiwan), who claimed All-PacWest Third Team honors, is averaging 2.06 points per set and hitting .350.

Senior OH Michelle Tevaga (Laie, HI/Kahuku) was named All-PacWest Honorable Mention after averaging 2.66 points and 2.79 digs per set.

BYU-Hawaii's Wilfred Navalta, who led the Seasiders to the PacWest Championship, enters the post-season having earned his second straight PacWest Coach of the Year award.

Like BYU-Hawaii, Grand Canyon competed in the 2011 NCAA II West Regional where the Antelopes lost to UC San Diego 3-0 in the quarterfinals.

Mackenzie Phelps Grand Canyon (23-5) will face #7 San Francisco State (21-8) in the regional quarterfinal on Nov. 29 at 2:30 p.m. HAST. If the Antelopes win, they will take on the survivor of #6 Central Washington (21-7) and #3 Cal State San Bernardino (22-8) at 5 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 30.

The Antelopes did not play San Francisco State this year, but Grand Canyon did defeat Central Washington 3-2 and Cal State San Bernardino 3-1 at the GCU Invitational on the same day (Sept. 1).

Sophomore Mackenzie Phelps (Prescott, AZ/Prescott - right photo) is leading the Antelopes into the post-season after claiming PacWest Libero of the Year honors and a Daktronics Division II All-Region First Team award.

Phelps, who was the Co-Libero of the Year in 2011, earned her second straight honor and her second consecutive All-PacWest First Team award after averaging 5.76 digs per set. She was one of four Antelopes named All-PacWest this season and will be instrumental in the post-season success of Grand Canyon.

Kristen Preach GCU senior setter Kristen Preach (Phoenix, AZ/Xavier Prep - left photo) – the 2009 Freshman of the Year – claimed her third All-PacWest award and her second straight First Team honor following a season that produced 10.17 assists and 2.45 digs per set. In 2010 she earned an Honorable Mention award winner.

The Antelopes also placed a pair of players on the All-PacWest Third Team in junior MB Kristen Johannsen (Phoenix, AZ/Valley Christian) and senior MB Shelby Taylor (Phoenix, AZ/Christian). Both players will be key in the regional tournament.

Johannsen hit .298, and averaged 3.04 points and 1.19 blocks per set for GCU, while Taylor hit .311 and averaged 2.30 points and 1.03 blocks per set.

The NCAA II West Region Tournament will be streamed live over the Internet at http://tv.byuh.edu/livestream/livestream.php.

In addition, the UC San Diego-vs.-BYU-Hawaii match on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. HAST, the second semifinal on Friday at 7:30 p.m. HAST, and the West Region Championship on Saturday at 7 p.m. HAST will be telecast live on BYU TV.

The link for BYU TV is http://byutv.org/. Fans may check the website or their local cable television listings for the channel number of BYU TV in their area.

Live stats will be provided at: http://eis-web2.byuh.edu/apps/athletics/livestats/vball/topview.htm.

NCAA II West Region Schedule

Thursday, November 29 (Quarterfinals)

  • #6 Central Washington vs. #3 Cal State San Bernardino, Noon HAST
  • #7 San Francisco State vs. #2 Grand Canyon, 2:30 p.m. HAST
  • #5 Sonoma State vs. #4 Western Washington, 5 p.m. HAST
  • #8 UC San Diego vs. #1 BYU-Hawaii, 7:30 p.m. HAST

Friday, November 30 (Semifinals)

  • #6-#3 winner vs. #7-#2 winner, 5 p.m. HAST
  • #5-#4 winner vs. #8-#1 winner, 7:30 p.m. HAST

Saturday, December 1 (Championship)

  • TBA, 7 p.m. HAST