Rainbows' regional a hot ticket
By Ann Miller
Advertiser Staff Writer
Tickets for Friday's and Saturday's matches at the Nebraska Coliseum (4,030 capacity) were sold out by yesterday. The third-seeded Cornhuskers are second nationally in attendance behind UH, averaging a little more than 4,000. The sixth-seeded Rainbow Wahine averaged 7,300 this season.
Hawai'i (32-1), which held its No. 2 ranking in the USA Today/AVCA Coaches Top 25 yesterday, plays 11th-ranked North Carolina (32-3) in Friday's first semifinal. Fourth-ranked Nebraska (30-1) plays 24th-ranked Miami (27-5).
This is the first week the Hurricanes have been ranked. The Miami program was restored last year after a decade-long absence and is making its first NCAA appearance. It upset 14th-seeded Wisconsin last week.
Valeria Tipiana, the Big East Player of the Year from Peru, and Marcela Gamarra, from Colombia, lead the 'Canes. Both average more than four kills a game. Miami lost to Notre Dame in the Big East championship match. Hawai'i swept the Fighting Irish in a two-match series in October.
North Carolina is making its first regional appearance and has a 5-8 record in its nine NCAA Tournaments. ACC Player of the Year Laura Greene averages 4.47 kills and 4.06 digs. Four other Tar Heels average more than two kills and senior setter Eve Rackham also earned all-ACC honors.
This is Hawai'i's fifth consecutive regional appearance. It is 48-17 in the NCAA Tournament with three national titles, the last in 1987. UH also won the 1979 AIAW national title.
Nebraska, which won the NCAA title in 1995 and 2000, captured its fifth consecutive Big 12 championship this season. All-Americans Laura Pilakowski, Greichaly Cepero and Amber Holmquist were the conference's co-Players of the Year. The Huskers lead the country in blocking and are third in hitting percentage.
Nebraska has hosted 11 previous regionals and advanced to the final four eight of those years. The Huskers, on a 28-match winning streak this season, have won their last 62 at home. Their last loss in Lincoln came Sept. 22, 1999.
QUICK SETS: All Hawai'i regional matches will be broadcast live on 1420 AM. Friday's broadcast begins at 12:45 p.m. HST. ... Television coverage will be announced later in the week. ... The NCAA has voted to go to pre-determined regionals next year, with the four sites picked in the next few months. UH Senior Woman Administrator Marilyn Moniz-Kaho'ohanohano said she wants to turn in a Friday-Saturday bid, which is better for attendance and more enticing to the NCAA. ... Hawai'i coach Dave Shoji moved into third on the all-time victory list last week, behind UCLA's Andy Banachowski and former BYU coach Elaine Michaelis. Shoji has 802 victories in his 28 seasons.
- West Regional, at Santa Barbara, Calif.
- Southern California (27-1) vs. Michigan State (21-11), 3 p.m.
- UC Santa Barbara (30-2) vs. Pepperdine (25-6), 5 p.m.
- Southern California-Michigan State winner vs. UC Santa Barbara-Pepperdine winner, 5 p.m.
- East Regional, at Gainesville, Fla.
- Washington State (23-7) vs. Northern Iowa (34-2), noon
- Florida (32-2) vs. Temple (28-6), 30 minutes after first game ends
- Washington State-Northern Iowa winner vs. Florida-Temple winner, 11 a.m.
- Central Regional, at Lincoln, Neb.
- North Carolina (32-3) vs. Hawai'i (32-1), 1 p.m.
- Nebraska (29-1) vs. Miami, Fla. (27-5), 3 p.m.
- North Carolina-Hawai'i winner vs. Nebraska-Miami, Fla. winner, 3 p.m.
- Pacific Regional, at Stanford, Calif.
- Minnesota (32-5) vs. Arizona (19-11), 3 p.m.
- Stanford (29-4) vs. Ohio State (21-10), 5:30 p.m.
- Minnesota-Arizona winner vs. Stanford-Ohio State winner, 7 p.m.
- National Final Four, at New Orleans Arena
- Regional winners
- Semifinal winners