When the University of Hawaii men's volleyball team visits BYU this week, it will be a complete role reversal from last season when the Cougars came to the Stan Sheriff Center winners of 30 sets in a row. BYU swept the first match and won the first two sets of the second, bringing their total to 35 in a row. The Rainbow Warriors won the third set, finally putting an end to the streak, though the Cougars went on to win the match.
Fast forward to this season where the fourth-ranked 'Bows head to Provo with a program-record 32 consecutive sets won. The teams insists they pay no attention to the streak, but they couldn't help but look ahead to BYU when they first saw the schedule.
"At the beginning of the year there are always some matches that you're going to look forward to," Wade said. "BYU always has a good team, so that will be a challenge. To go up there and play matches that count, these are meaningful, they have a lot of implication in both the league and the national standings, so it should be a lot of fun."
The Cougars are the third ranked team in the country, UH is fourth. Both are trying to catch the newly-named top-ranked team in the country Long Beach State in the MPSF standings.
The series is lopsided in BYU's favor, even more so when the two programs meet in Provo. The Rainbow Warriors have lost 23 of the 26 matches in Utah, including two years ago when UH went in as the number one team in the country.
"I know for some of the guys that were on the team in 2015 when we lost there twice, there's extra motivation to play in that gym," said senior setter Jennings Franciskovic.
UH hasn't lost a match in nearly two months, but UH won't be the favorite heading into this weekend's showdown.
"I don't know how much we look at ourselves as underdogs," said Wade. "We look at it as an opportunity to go in, we know we've been playing well for a while, and continue to do so."
Underdogs or not, Franciskovic knows many around the country will be tuning in to see if the 'Bows ongoing streaks are just numbers, or if UH is a legitimate national title contender.
"Knowing that we need to prove ourselves this week to let people know that we are for real, that's going to be the motivation that we have."
Copyright 2017 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.
Hawaii News Now
420 Waiakamilo Road, Suite 205
Honolulu, HI 96817
Main (808) 847-3246
News (808) 847-1112