The women's volleyball team from Brigham Young University-Hawaii claimed the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics championship for the second year in a row on Dec. 2.
The Seasiders - who entered the 1995 season with high expectations and a No. 1 ranking - captured their fourth NAIA championship in the past five years, downing the University of Puget Sound, 6-15, 15-12, 15-12, 15-5. The victory gave the school its sixth NAIA title, breaking the NAIA record for most team titles. It also upped the Seasiders' winning streak at nationals to 28 straight matches."The pressure was definitely on a higher level this year," said senior middle blocker Ui Aalona, who has been on four national title teams. "There were higher expectations coming from all directions."
BYU-Hawaii Coach Wilfred Navalta, who at
56-6 is the most successful coach in NAIA tournament history, concurred. "There was definitely more pressure on us to repeat than ever before," he said. The team felt a different kind of pressure, the coach noted, "and it caused us to play more conservatively and protect our turf instead of claiming our turf."
The 1995 tournament began with victories over St. Ambrose (Iowa) University, Saint Edward's (Texas) University, California Baptist College, and No. 9 ranked Northwestern (Iowa) College. The team downed No. 8 ranked Columbia (Missouri) College in the quarterfinals and Fresno Pacific College in the semifinals.
"Their performance in the title match was one of the finest demonstrations of courage and calmness I've ever seen," said BYU-Hawaii Pres. Eric B. Shumway. "They proved they are truly champions by hanging in there after losing the first set. They simply would not be defeated nor intimidated by a very aggressive and talented Puget Sound team."
For their efforts three Seasiders were named to the all-tournament team. Senior Anik Valiengo, who played in more winning games than any other starter in school history (122-9), was voted the tournament's Most Valuable Player. From Sao Paulo, Brazil, she is a four-time All-American and was a starter on four national championship teams, which never lost a match at the national tournament. She was also named the 1995 NAIA Player of the Year.
Sophomore middle blocker Becky Laubach, from Waianae, Hawaii, and junior outsider hitter Daniela Carneiro, from Rio de Janerio, Brazil, joined Valiengo on the all-tournament team.