HONOLULU-The 2017 University of Hawai’i women’s volleyball team announced its schedule for the upcoming season which includes 19 home matches at the Stan Sheriff Center and eight road matches. The schedule features a challenging slate of high-level competition including UCLA, Marquette, San Diego, Utah, Baylor, and BYU—all of whom competed in the 2016 NCAA Tournament.
Hawai’i will begin the season with the Rainbow Wahine Invitational, Aug. 25-27 with Marquette, San Diego and UCLA—all three of which competed in last year’s NCAA tourney. Marquette advanced to its sixth-straight NCAA tournament after finishing 23-9 overall and second in the Big East Conference. It will be UH’s first meeting against the Golden Eagles. San Diego was ranked all season long in the AVCA poll and finished at No. 22 after posting a 24-6 overall record. Hawai’i is 3-1 against the Toreros all-time but fell in its most recent meeting vs. USD in five sets in 2013. UCLA recorded a 27-7 overall record last year and placed third in the powerful PAC-12. The Bruins advanced to the NCAA Regional Finals where they fell to Minnesota in four. UCLA finished the season ranked No. 6 and UH’s all-time record against the Bruins is tied at 37-37.
The Rainbow Wahine will then host the Hawaiian Airlines Wahine Volleyball Classic from Aug. 31-Sept. 3. Competing in the second tourney of the year will be Western Carolina, South Dakota and Utah. It is UH’s first meeting against Western Carolina who went 11-19 in the Southern Conference a year ago. South Dakota won the Summit League’s regular season title with a 13-3 conference record while tallying an overall mark of 25-7, but the Coyotes fell in the conference tournament. Hawai’i won its only meeting against the Yotes in 2004 in three sets. Utah is also coming off a strong season finishing ranked at No. 25. The Utes went 20-12 overall and advanced to its 13th NCAA tournament. UH is 11-0 against the Utes all-time, but the last meeting came in 2004. Hawai’i will not play on Saturday, Sept. 2 because of the UH football team’s game against Western Carolina. Instead the ‘Bows will take on Utah on Sunday, at 4:00 p.m.
The ‘Bows will finish their pre-season tournaments with the Outrigger Resorts Volleyball Challenge. This tourney features BYU, Baylor and Nevada. BYU won the 2016 West Coast Conference title and went 29-4 overall. The Cougars swept through their first and second round NCAA matches against Princeton and UNLV, but fell to Texas in a five-set thriller in the Regionals. UH is 17-6 against BYU all-time. But the Cougars swept the ‘Bows in the most recent match which was the second round of the NCAA tournament in Honolulu. BYU finished the season ranked No. 8 in the AVCA polls. Baylor from the Big 12 posted a 22-12 overall record and was receiving votes in the final AVCA poll last year. Hawai’i holds a 5-0 record against Baylor with the last match played in 2012. The Bears fell in the second round of the NCAA tournament to UCLA. Nevada finished fifth in the Mountain West a year ago with a 19-11 overall record. UH has a 37-1 record against the Wolf Pack.
Hawai’i will conclude their non-conference schedule with a pair of games against Northern Arizona. The two matches will sandwich UH’s annual Alumnae Match. The Lumberjacks recorded a 24-8 overall record and finished second in the Big Sky Conference. The ‘Bows will play NAU on back-to-back nights, opening on Friday, September 15 at 7:00 p.m. The Alumnae Match will be at 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 16 which will be immediately followed by the Rainbow Wahine facing Northern Arizona at 7:00 p.m.
The Rainbow Wahine will have 16 conference games. UH opens the Big West season at home facing UC Irvine on Friday, September 22 and UC Davis on Saturday, September 23. The ‘Bows will end their home schedule with matches against CSUN on Friday, November 3 and Senior Night will be against Long Beach State on Nov. 4. UH ends their season on the road at UC Davis on November 16 and UC Irvine on November 18.
The 2016 Rainbow Wahine finished the season ranked No. 17 in the final AVCA coaches poll after posting a 23-6 overall record. Hawai’i captured their second-straight Big West title and 25th overall conference crown with a 15-1 mark. The ‘Bows competed in their 35th NCAA tournament where they defeated USC in the first round but fell to Minnesota in the second. Hawai’i will return five starters and 14 letterwinners next fall—including all-Big West first team players Emily Maglio,Savanah Kahakai, and Norene Iosia. It will the first time in 42 seasons that Dave Shoji will not be at the helm of the Rainbow Wahine program. First year head coach Robyn Ah Mow-Santos will begin a new era this season. Ah Mow-Santos is only the third head coach in program history. She is considered one of the most decorated players in school history, with an impressive resume that includes three Olympic Games appearances, two first-team All-America selections, and is a member of the school’s Sports Circle of Honor and Hawai’i Sports Hall of Fame.