UH gets regional in 2011
By Ann Miller
Advertiser Staff Writer
More than a month after the Rainbow Wahine volleyball season ended at the final four, the NCAA finally gave Hawai'i a postseason home match. The Western Athletic Conference followed up by leaving the WAC Tournament in Hawai'i's second home — Las Vegas — for at least another year.
Stan Sheriff Center will be the site of an NCAA Regional in 2011. The NCAA Division I Women's Volleyball Committee announced regional sites for 2010 and 2011 yesterday.
This year's four regional sites are Bank of America Arena at the University of Washington, Rec Hall at Penn State, Gregory Gymnasium at the University of Texas and the University of Dayton Arena in Ohio. All regional matches will be Dec. 10 and 11.
The following year, Hawai'i will host Dec. 9 and 10. Other regional sites are the Stephen C. O'Connell Center at University of Florida, Sports Pavilion at the University of Minnesota, and Memorial Coliseum at the University of Kentucky.
"I'm happy for our program that we're able to host high quality volleyball," UH coach Dave Shoji said. "I think our fans deserve to see some of the best teams in the country."
NCAA representatives at last season's Stanford Regional told Hawai'i, which has led the country in attendance since 1994, it was more likely to get a regional bid than a subregional bid. Since 9/11, the committee has been required to limit travel the first and second rounds, ideally keeping teams in driving distance.
The Rainbows last hosted a regional in 2006, upsetting USC in the first round before falling to UCLA. They also hosted in 2003, the first year the NCAA went to predetermined regional sites, and advanced to the final four. They have not hosted a subregional since 2003.
This year's final four will be at the Sprint Center in Kansas City. In 2011, it will be at the Alamodome in San Antonio. In 2012, it will be the Louisville Arena.
Hawai'i's tentative 2010 schedule starts Aug. 27 to 29, with UCLA, Kansas State and San Diego here for a tournament. The regular season ends in Las Vegas. Shoji says the WAC Tournament will be at Orleans Arena again, Nov. 22 to 24.
The 2011 season has the Rainbow Wahine spending all of September at home again. A tournament Sept. 2 to 5 includes Michigan State, USC and New Mexico. St. Mary's, San Diego State and UC Irvine will be here Sept. 9 to 11 in what shapes up as homecoming weekend. The Gaels have several Hawai'i players, SDSU is coached by former UH All-American Deitre Collins-Parker and UCI's best player is honorable mention All-American Kari Pestolesi, daughter of former Hawai'i All-Americans Tom Pestolesi and Diane Sebastian.
Brigham Young will be here the following weekend and the WAC season starts the last week of September. Hawai'i, which traveled more than 42,000 miles last season, won't go on the road until October. Its final home match — Senior Night — is Nov. 19 against Idaho.