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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, August 28, 2002

UH volleyball team faces tough test in opener

By Ann Miller
Advertiser Staff Writer

The University of Hawai'i Rainbow Wahine might know as early as Friday how bright their volleyball postseason hopes are.

Volleyball ticket sales are up

The sale of Rainbow Wahine volleyball season tickets rose nearly 4 percent despite a hike in the surcharge, school officials said.

Approximately 5,600 season tickets have been sold for this year, about 200 more than last season.

Sales have gained steadily despite the imposition of a $40 surcharge on tickets in the lower bowl of the Stan Sheriff Center. Previously, the surcharge had been $20.

— Advertiser Staff

The same goes for Ohio State, UCLA and Colorado.

The four nationally ranked teams open play this weekend in the 15th annual Hawaiian Airlines Wahine Classic. The tournament begins Friday at 5 p.m., with 11th-ranked UCLA taking on No. 21 Colorado. Fourth-ranked Hawai'i follows against ninth-ranked Ohio State.

Last August, the Rainbows lost their first season-opener in 20 years, falling to Nebraska at the State Farm/NACWAA Tournament. They return all their starters this season. They are 14-0 in Classic openers and 31-11 overall, with six championships.

UCLA is also 31-11 with six Classic titles. It ended the Rainbows' 2001 season in a regional semifinal last December. Gone from that team is All-American Kristee Porter, along with Ashley Bowles and four-year setter Erika Selsor. The Bruins signed seven freshmen for this season.

Ohio State is 2-4 in three previous Classic appearances. The Buckeyes have four starters back, including AVCA Freshman of the Year Stacey Gordon. They have been picked to win the Big Ten this season, after finishing second last year. Hawai'i is 26-4 against Big Ten competition.

Colorado also returns four starters, including all-conference players Elizabeth Gower, Mehgan Barkman and Monique Gerlach. The Buffs are coached by Kamehameha Schools graduate Pi'i Aiu.

Ohio State and Colorado will play at 2 p.m. Saturday. UH returns to action Sunday, in a 5 p.m. match against Colorado. That will be preceded by UCLA and Ohio State at 3. UH and UCLA will conclude the tournament at 5 p.m. Monday.

The season started last weekend, with defending NCAA champion Stanford winning the 2002 State Farm/NACWAA Tournament by beating host Minnesota, 30-21, 24-30, 30-27, 30-21.

Unranked Minnesota beat eighth-ranked Pepperdine to reach the final. Pepperdine also fell to 14th-ranked Northern Iowa (21-30, 30-21, 22-30, 30-23, 15-13) in the consolation final. Northern Iowa trailed 12-9 in the fifth game.

Stanford also won the inaugural State Farm Tournament in 1995. Saturday, the Cardinal were led by sophomore Ogonna Nnamani's 19 kills and 17 digs.

All 10 Western Athletic Conference teams open this weekend. Other than Hawai'i, Rice is the only team that could face a ranked opponent. The Owls play in the George Mason tournament with Northern Iowa. Every WAC team returns at least three starters.

Hawai'i just learned it will host the 2003 NACWAA tournament Aug. 22 and 23. The rest of the four-team field will be announced in January.