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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Tuesday, November 12, 2002

UH volleyball falls to No. 3 after first loss

Advertiser Staff

A three-game sweep by Stanford dropped the University of Hawai'i to third in the USA Today/American Volleyball Coaches Association poll, but the ranking to keep an eye on is for NCAA regional host rights, Rainbow Wahine coach Dave Shoji said.

Defending national champion Stanford (24-3), which knocked off previous No.1s Southern California (21-1) and UH (23-1) in a 10-day span, replaced Hawai'i in the poll of coaches announced yesterday. USC is second.

As the No. 1-ranked team in the USA Today poll, the previously unbeaten Rainbow Wahine seemed a lock for a top four NCAA spot — at least until they were swept by Stanford Sunday night.

Come playoff time, the top four teams in the NCAA's rankings host regional finals that qualify participants for the final four in New Orleans Dec. 19-21.

With one of the top seeds, UH could host a regional at Stan Sheriff Center. But should the Rainbow Wahine fall beyond that, they could, for example, find themselves playing in Gainesville, Fla., or Lincoln, Neb., if they advance to the regional finals.

Now, Shoji says, "it is hard to figure where things stand" since the NCAA doesn't reveal the Ratings Percentage Index, upon which its ratings are based, until after the season.

While UH's strength of schedule component is dragged down by the WAC, which boasts no other nationally ranked teams, Shoji said Florida also is hurt by dominating a weak conference.