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Hawaii leaves playoff fate up to committee


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POSTED: Monday, April 27, 2009

They've done all they can do.

But the question is, was it enough?

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The Hawaii women's water polo team will find out today if its fifth-place finish in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation tournament translates into an at-large berth in next month's NCAA championship. The Rainbow Wahine, seeded sixth, held off fifth-seeded San Jose State 8-7 at the Duke Kahanamoku Aquatic Center and “;the word is yeah, we're in,”; UH coach Michel Roy said. “;But you never know. It's in the hands of the committee.”;

One team that has no such worries is top-ranked USC, the regular-season MPSF champion. The Trojans outscored Stanford 3-1 in the final quarter for a 6-5 victory. USC also won the tournament in 2004 en route to the NCAA title.

Based on the selection criteria, Hawaii (18-8) has a strong case. The Wahine have been ranked No. 4 most of the season; they tied for fourth in the MPSF; and they have wins over four-time defending NCAA champion UCLA and Cal.

Hawaii got a bit of help yesterday when UCLA defeated Cal 8-7 in the third-place game.

“;I think I have a little more respect for Hawaii than some people do,”; UCLA coach Adam Krikorian said after the Bruins hung on against the Wahine 8-7 in Friday's quarterfinal. “;They have a heck of a team. You just never know when it's up to a committee.”;

Today's nail biting will be nothing new for the Wahine. They were doing plenty of that yesterday, from eking out their win over the Spartans to watching the Bruins do the same against the Golden Bears.

Kathryn Hannum's goal early in the second quarter broke a 3-3 tie, giving San Jose State what would be its lone lead of the contest. Hawaii answered with two goals, the second on a power play by Leonie Van Der Molen to go ahead at 5-4.

Tied at 6-6, Carmen Eggens skipped one in with 17 seconds to go before half to give the Wahine the lead for good. Her sister, Monika, provided the game-winner when tracking down Kelly Mason's blocked shot and powering in the rebound for her second goal with 4:20 left in the third.

The Spartans made it interesting, closing to 8-7 with 91 seconds in the third when Adriana Vogt got one past Wahine goalie Serena Bredin on a power play.

Both teams had chances in the fourth but couldn't capitalize after a steal or having a 6-on-5 power play.

“;It's nice we could finish it in regulation,”; Monika Eggens said, referring to Saturday's overtime win against San Diego State. “;They're a good team.

“;Against UCLA, we made mistakes we don't usually make and we're fixing those as we play more and more. Hopefully we can keep on doing that in the NCAAs.”;

“;Monika has been struggling for the last few weeks and I was happy to see her have the game she did today,”; Roy said. “;She's our future star.”;