Hawaii sched­ule boasts top-ranked teams

Honolulu Star-Advertiser - - SPORTS - By Cindy Luis cluis@starad­ver­tiser.com

De­fend­ing Big West beach vol­ley­ball cham­pion Hawaii opens the sea­son on the road with four matches in Ari­zona, one of four trips the Rain­bow Wahine are sched­uled to make while seek­ing a re­turn to the NCAA cham­pi­onship.

Hawaii, which fin­ished fourth at last May’s in­au­gu­ral NCAA tour­na­ment, faces Ari­zona State and host Ari­zona on March 3 and Jack­sonville and Grand Canyon on March 4. The SandBows’ home opener is the Queen’s Cup, March 10-11, at Queen’s Beach against Stet­son and Loy­ola Mary­mount.

The March 17-18 Outrig­ger Hawaii In­vi­ta­tional, also at Queen’s Beach, fea­tures Ne­braska, Florida State, Utah, Ari­zona and de­fend­ing NCAA cham­pion USC. On March 20, Hawaii has a sin­gle dual with Ne­braska in a tele­vised match at the Ching Com­plex courts.

The SandBows com­pete in the in­au­gu­ral Shave Ice In­vi­ta­tional on March 26 at Irvine Val­ley Col­lege (Irvine, Calif.) with Stan­ford, TCU and the host Lasers. Hawaii also has a sin­gle match at Pep­per­dine on March 29.

The in­au­gu­ral Big West Chal­lenge is set for April 1-2 at Hunt­ing­ton Beach, Calif., with Cal State Northridge, Sacra­mento State, Long Beach State and Cal Poly.

The Waves and Mus­tangs then visit the Ching Com­plex for matches April 7 and 8.

The Aloha In­vi­ta­tional will be held on Kauai, April 1415, with USC, Grand Canyon, Florida At­lantic, Saint Mary’s, New Mex­ico and Hawaii. The Big West Cham­pi­onship will be at Pismo Beach, hosted by Cal Poly, on April 28-29.

The NCAA cham­pi­onship again is at Gulf Shores, Ala., on May 5-7.

“Our home sched­ule is a nice bal­ance be­tween our world-class fa­cil­i­ties on cam­pus and the world-class beaches in Waikiki,” UH coach Jeff Hall said. “We truly have the best of both worlds, and with top-ranked teams like USC, Florida

State, Pep­per­dine and Ne­braska head­ing here. Our fans are in for a real treat.”

Six play­ers from Hawaii’s in­door team are on the 27-player ros­ter, in­clud­ing beach re­turnees Emily Maglio, Clare-Marie An­der­son and Gianna Guinasso. In­door play­ers mak­ing their beach de­buts are An­nie Mitchem, Tayler Hig­gins, Kirsten Si­b­ley, Emma Smith and Sa­vanah Ka­hakai.

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