BYU-H women win 8th volleyball title

The women's volleyball team from BYU-Hawaii won the 1997 NAIA national championship Dec. 6 - the school's fourth consecutive national title and eighth in recent history.

BYU-Hawaii also became the only women's volleyball team in the nation - at any level - to complete its 1997 season undefeated. The undefeated season is the first in the school's history. The Seasiders swept every match of the NAIA National Tournament, where they defeated Biola University (California) 15-3, 15-7, 15-4 in the finals.BYU-Hawaii head coach Wilfred Navalta, who is president of the Laie Hawaii North Stake, said his team "played super."

"We were really focused playing one point at a time. . . . It is great to bring back another national championship."

Seniors Ana Alves and Rachel Nihipali became the only players in BYU-Hawaii history to have played in and won four consecutive NAIA national championships. Since the women joined the team in 1994, the Seasiders have compiled a 128-7 record.

Before the national tournament, held at Olivet Nazarene University in Illinois, the women on the team participated in a fireside for more than 250 members of the Bourbonnais (Illinois) Ward and in a service project.

All 11 members of the team, even those who are not members of the Church, took part in the fireside, reading an inspirational thought or sharing a testimony. They also sang hymns.

After each team member presented her part on the program, she gave a Hawaiian lei to someone in the congregation - which included a number of high school volleyball players. Pres. Navalta was the fireside's concluding speaker.

Team members entertained patients at Saint Mary Hospital in Kankakee for a service project. They demonstrated how to cut a pineapple, and sang Silent Night in three languages and the Hawaiian version of the Twelve Days of Christmas.

This year's national title marked the last year the team would compete in the NAIA. Next year they will participate in NCAA Division II.

Subscribe for free and get daily or weekly updates straight to your inbox
The three things you need to know everyday
Highlights from the last week to keep you informed