By Tiff Wells.
November 28, 1998: Outside of a National Championship match where UH participated in, this possibly could be the best match in UH’s history. Some may say it’s the best ever in NCAA history. At the MGM Garden in Las Vegas, Hawai‘i faced BYU in the WAC Tournament final. It’s the third straight year for a UH/BYU WAC Tournament final (BYU won in both ’96 and ’97). The regular season series tied at 1, each team winning on their home court (BYU won in 4 sets in Provo, while UH won in 5 sets in Honolulu). It’s also the final WAC match for BYU (they were soon headed to the Mountain West Conference). Still using the traditional sideout scoring here, Hawai‘i took a 2-0 lead in the match (15-12, 21-19). Not to be outdone here, the Cougars responded and won the next two sets (15-13, 18-16).
Overlaps, cramps, exhaustion, controversial calls, not having enough substitutions (remember, the libero position wasn’t created yet) and because of that, defensive specialists had to rotate along the front row. You name it, this match had it. This match went so long that at Aloha Stadium prior to UH’s kickoff against Michigan, the game was shown on the jumbotron. Leah Karratti’s match-ending game kill gave UH the 24-22 fifth-set victory and their first WAC Tournament championship. It also capped the match at three hours and 38 minutes, the longest recorded match in NCAA history. That record still holds true to today. Setter Nikki Hubbert set a UH single match record with 95 assists, while UH set a team match record with 107 assists. The 116 total kills by UH is the second most in program history. To watch the match (over 18 segments), check out the video below:
# # #