Wahine to Host Verizon Volleyball Challenge

September 5, 2012, 6:52 AM HST · Updated September 5, 6:54 AM
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Hawaii’s Emily Hartong (17), Jade Vorster (9), and Kaela Goodman (2) will be back in action on Friday when UH faces San Diego State at 7 p.m. Photo by UH Athletics.

By Rodney S. Yap

The No. 9 University of Hawai’i Rainbow Wahine volleyball team welcomes third-ranked UCLA along with San Diego State and Idaho to the Stan Sheriff Center this weekend for the 18th annual Verizon Volleyball Challenge.

UH opens against San Diego State on Friday at 7 p.m., then plays Idaho on Saturday at 7 p.m., and closes the tournament against UCLA on Sunday at 5 p.m.

UCLA and Hawai’i have a rich and competitive history with the Rainbow Wahine holding a slight edge in their all-time series at 36-33. The Bruins come in as the defending national champions and are coached by former UH assistant Mike Sealy.

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The rivalry began nearly 40 years ago in UH’s inaugural collegiate season, when the Bruins topped Hawai’i in the 1974 national final. Nine years later, the Bows turned back UCLA in straight sets to win the 1983 NCAA National Title, their second straight national championship. The teams most recently met last season in the Hawaiian Airlines Wahine Volleyball Classic where the Bruins handed UH its first loss of the season en route to winning the tourney title.

San Diego State also comes to Hawai’i with a pair of former Rainbow Wahine volleyball members. The Aztecs are coached by Deitre Collins-Parker who played for the Bows from 1980-83 where she was a three-time All-American and member of UH’s ’82 and ’83 championship teams. Playing for Collins-Parker is sophomore Michelle Waber who played one season at UH where was selected to the WAC All-Freshman Team.

The Rainbow Wahine will also take on former Western Athletic Conference foe Idaho. The Bows and Vandals played every season during Hawaii’s 16-year run in the WAC with UH winning every meeting.

Hawai’i hopes to rebound after dropping its first match of the season, a five-set loss to then-No. 25 California in the final match of last week’s Hawaiian Airlines Classic. Despite the loss, the Bows won the tournament title, their first since 2004.

What: Verizon Volleyball Challenge

Who: No. 9 Hawai’i, No. 3 UCLA, San Diego State, and Idaho

When: Friday, Sept. 7 (7:00 p.m.), Saturday, Sept. 8 (7:00 p.m.), and Sunday, Sept. 9 (5:00 p.m.)

Where: Honolulu, O’ahu (Stan Sheriff Center)

Television: OCSports – Channels 16 (SD) and 1016 (HD) will be broadcasting ALL matches of the tournament with Jim Leahey calling the play-by-play and Chris McLachlin doing color commentary.

Streaming Video: Available at www.secure.oceanic.com/Streaming.

Radio: ESPN Radio (1420 AM) will broadcast all UH matches live with Scott Robbs handling the play-by-play.

Audio Webcast: http://espn1420am.com

Live Stats: Live in-game stats are available at HawaiiAthletics.com

Ticket Information: Tickets can be purchased at Stan Sheriff Center Box Office, online at HawaiiAthletics.com, or by phone at (808) 944-2697.

Tournament Sponsor: Verizon

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