Hawaii left to hope its bid is accepted
LAS CRUCES, N.M. » Sometimes it's hard not to look ahead to an opponent. For Hawaii, there will be two next week.
The Rainbow Wahine host Loyola Marymount on Tuesday and Wednesday at the Stan Sheriff Center. The Lions are 16-11 following yesterday's win over St. Mary's.
The tougher foe may be next Sunday. The NCAA Selection Committee will announce the seeds and pairings for the postseason.
Hawaii has put in a bid to host the first and second rounds, but associate athletic director Marilyn Moniz-Kaho'ohanohano doesn't like Hawaii's chances.
"I'd give us about a 25 percent chance of getting a bid," Moniz-Kaho'ohanohano said. "The top four teams (in RPI) will host and the top 16 will be placed accordingly.
"What limits us is the rule that teams can only make three flights and travel two time zones. It's all going to depend on how we're placed geographically."
As of the NCAA RPI dated Nov. 16 (through last Sunday's matches), Hawaii had dropped to 19th. Ahead of the Wahine in the west region are UNLV (13), San Diego (14) and Colorado State (16), although UNLV lost Friday to Utah (54). New Mexico State was at 43 coming into the week.
The regionals are predetermined, with Stanford, Florida, Wisconsin and Penn State hosting. Moniz-Kaho'ohanohano said only five schools put in bids for the regionals this year; the fifth was Minnesota.
Since Hawaii will be hosting the Western Athletic Conference tournament next year, UH will not put in a bid for a regional in 2008, but likely will do so in 2009.
"The past few years, the (NCAA) tournament was being spread around, but we'll have to watch closely how many teams will put in bids next year," Moniz-Kaho'ohanohano said. "We want to be prepared to do that for our team. We expect to be top 16 every year, so we should always be bidding for the regional and work out any conflicts we might have.
"You have to wonder about why the Big 12 is bidding more. You had three teams from the Big Ten do so this year."
Kaho'ohanohano spent quite a bit of time in airports this week, coming here for WAC volleyball Thursday, flying to Colorado for the Wahine's NCAA soccer match Friday and back here for last night's volleyball match. Her travel plans had her going through Denver today, which would have allowed her to be at the Wahine soccer match had they advanced.
Have lei, will travel
It's a quartet of women affectionately known as "The Aunties." They attend every home match for women's and men's volleyball, sitting in the first row in the mauka end of the Stan Sheriff Center, and give lei to Hawaii players after the matches ... sometimes to the opponents, depending if there are extra.
Two of them made the trek here for the tournament, bringing 66 lei, enough for all the Wahine players and coaches for three matches.
"We usually come to the WAC tournament," Lauretta Sewake said.
"And we'll go to the final four if Hawaii makes it," Lenora Yagi added.
Although Cookie Kim and Ellen Tamura were unable to attend, Frances Ichinose (Sewake's sister-in-law from Fullerton) and Brenda Chong joined the group this week as "hanai aunties."