Rainbow Wahine now No. 1
By Ferd Lewis
Advertiser Staff Writer
"It is flattering but it is just someone's opinion," said UH coach Dave Shoji, one of the 49 coaches out of a panel of 65 who voted the Rainbow Wahine No. 1 in this week's poll.
The Rainbows (21-0), who had occupied the No. 2 position for the past seven weeks, replaced Southern California after the Trojans lost to Stanford Saturday.
The then-No. 6 Cardinal beat USC, 30-26, 16-30, 26-30, 30-28, 16-14, before 2,115 in Los Angeles. USC is 19-1 and Stanford, which has moved up to No. 4, is 21-3.
The Cardinal, the defending national champion, will play the Rainbows Sunday at 6 p.m. at Stan Sheriff Center. The match is sold out.
Shoji sought to play down the importance of being No. 1 at this point in the season.
"There are six or seven teams that have just as good a chance (at the national title); it just comes down to who is No. 1 at the end," he said.
UH has won four national championships, most recently in 1987.
The last time UH was No. 1 in the coaches' poll was Oct. 28, 1996. It was briefly No. 1 in the Volleyball Magazine poll two years ago.
In this week's coaches' poll, USC received 12 first-place votes, Stanford 3 and UC-Santa Barbara 1.
Shoji, whose team began the season at No. 4, said he was not surprised by the elevation to No. 1. "It was kind of natural; when No. 1 loses, everybody moves up," he said. "And that's pretty much what happened."