RAINBOW WAHINE VOLLEYBALL
Preseason poll puts Rainbow Wahine No. 7
NCAA runner-up Nebraska claims the top volleyball spot
HAWAII'S NUMBER came up '7' in yesterday's CSTV/AVCA Division I Volleyball Coaches Top 25 preseason poll.
More along the lines of pressure. Good pressure.
It's high enough to garner respect but low enough to motivate the Rainbow Wahine to move up the rankings.
"I think it's a very appropriate spot for us," said associate coach Kari Anderson Ambrozich. "We have a lot of opportunities during the season to gauge where we're at nationally and to prove where we belong. It's a good spot to start and get motivated."
The 60 coaches split their votes among four teams, with NCAA runner-up Nebraska coming out as a surprising No. 1 for the second straight year.
The Huskers had 14 first-place votes, fewer votes than either second-ranked Penn State (17) or defending NCAA champion Washington (16), ranked No. 3.
Stanford, which was Hawaii coach Dave Shoji's top choice, came in at No. 4 with the remaining 13 votes.
The Wahine face Stanford on Sept. 9 and No. 5 Florida on Sept. 1. Hawaii also hosts No. 10 UCLA Sept. 3. They open the season Aug. 25-26 with No. 19 Pepperdine.
Hawaii finished 27-7 last season, advancing to its eighth straight NCAA regional and falling to Missouri in the regional semifinal. The Rainbow Wahine ended last season ranked No. 9.
Hawaii is the only Western Athletic Conference team in the Top 25. New Mexico State also received 25 votes.
Shoji returns today in time for the Wahine's first practice. He has been with younger son Erik at the Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid, N.Y. Erik was attempting to make the USA Boys Youth Volleyball Team.