Star-Bulletin Sports

Monday, November 29, 1999

W A H I N E _ V O L L E Y B A L L

Wahine could
run the table
at home

The NCAA seeds Hawaii
first in its region, meaning the
women's volleyball team will play
here as long as it keeps winning

By Cindy Luis


The T-shirt reads: "I'm here. Now, what are your other two wishes?''

The shirt wasn't designed with the Hawaii women's volleyball team in mind. But it could have been.

The NCAA genie granted the third-ranked Wahine the first of their three wishes yesterday when the championship tournament pairings were announced. The selection committee has the Stan Sheriff Center as host site for this week's first- and second-rounds, as well as next week's regional. and the NCAA final four Dec. 16-18.

Veronica Lima and Heather Bown will lead the
Wahine into the NCAA Tournament, beginning
Thursday at the Stan Sheriff Center.

"This is what we've been working for all season, to have the whole thing here,'' said Wahine senior blocker Heather Bown. "It's a real advantage for us to be home and I think we got a pretty good draw. We don't have to travel, don't have deal with the jetlag like we did going all the way to Florida last year.

"I don't think there's extra pressure on us by being at home. We know what the community expects and have been dealing with it all season. We've had the same hopes and aspirations all season long.''

Hawaii (27-1) is the top seed in the Mountain Region, and the third seed overall in the 64-team tournament. The Wahine faces Prairie View (Texas) A&M in Thursday's second match at the Sheriff Center.

The Lady Panthers (18-16) won the automatic berth as the Southwestern Athletic Conference champions and are making their first trip to the NCAA Tournament. In Thursday's opening match at 5 p.m., former WAC member Utah (21-9) meets Colorado (18-11). The winners of the first round play at 7 p.m. Friday.

Top-ranked Penn State (30-1), last year's national runner-up, is seeded No. 1 overall and in the Central Region. No. 2 Stanford (26-2) is the top seed in the Pacific Region, second overall, while fifth-ranked Pacific (28-2) is the top seed in the East Regional, fourth seed overall.

This will be Hawaii's 18th trip to the NCAA Tournament. The Wahine missed the postseason tourney just once, back in 1992.

"I don't think there are any real surprises among the top four seeds,'' said Hawaii coach Dave Shoji. "I did not doubt that we would be hosting the regional because we played a good schedule, had quality wins and just one loss.'

"I am real disappointed for San Jose State not getting in and the WAC getting just one team. And I didn't think the Big Ten deserved eight teams. I didn't think they were strong enough to warrant that.''

The Big Ten has the most teams in the field, followed by the Big 12 with six, and the Pac-10 with five. The Big West and the West Coast conference each have four teams while the Mountain West, made up of former WAC schools, is represented by BYU, Colorado State and Utah.

"I don't see any stacked regions or cakewalks,'' said Wahine assistant coach Kari Anderson, a former Hawaii setter. "Overall, it 's a pretty fair bracket. We figured we'd have either Long Beach State or UC Santa Barbara in our bracket.

"I think it's very, very good for us that we're hosting and we're very happy. I know our team enjoys playing in front of our fans. The crowd is our seventh man.''

Hawaii is attempting to become just the third school in the tournament's 19th-year history to win the title on its home court. UCLA did it twice (1984 and '91) Pacific did it once (1986).

Yesterday, the Wahine didn't have to wait long to hear the good news that they were staying home. Team members listened to the conference call via speaker phone at the Sheriff Center, just hours after returning from what was the last road trip of the season to Arizona.

Before the pairings were released, it was announced that the top four seeds - and tentative regional hosts - would be Penn State, Stanford, Hawaii and Pacific. Sighs of relief were mixed in with shouts of "Yes!"

"We're looking forward to playing the games at the Sheriff Center,'' said Wahine freshman Lily Kahumoku. "Our seniors definitely deserve it. Having our home crowd is such an advantage.''

"I couldn't sleep last night, thinking about it,'' said Bown, who brought back the MVP trophy from the Arizona Thanksgiving Invitational. "We were all wondering who we'd be playing and where.

"I don't know anything about Prairie View, have never heard of them them. But it looks like a pretty good draw for us.''

There was already speculation over who Hawaii would play should the Wahine win Thursday. Shoji felt the Utah-Colorado match was a toss-up.

The Utes have former Wahine player Adrianne Bradley, who transferred just a week before training started in August. The Lady Buffs, coached by Kamehameha Schools graduate Pi'i Aiu, lost to the Wahine here on Sept. 17.

"There is no easy way to the final,'' said Shoji. There is no easy bracket this year. From Nos. 1-16, there is so much parity. "

The NCAA committee seeded 16 teams this year. In Hawaii's region are No. 6 Long Beach State, No. 11 Colorado State and No. 14 Texas A&M.

The Wahine played nine teams in this year's field. They lost to Stanford but defeated UCLA, Minnesota, Southern Cal, Long Beach State, Colorado, Loyola Marymount, Arizona and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

NCAA TICKETS: Season ticket holders who preordered the first- and second-round ticket packages can pick up those up today through Thursday, from 8 a.m.-4 p.m., at the Sheriff Center box office.

Ticket packages for the general public go on sale tomorrow beginning at 8 a.m at the box office. Phone sales start at noon tomorrow (944-BOWS).

Tickets are also available at the UH Campus Center, the RainBowTique at Ward Centre and at ETM ticket outlets. The two-day packages prices are: $20 lower level, $14 upper level, $12 seniors and $6 students.


1999 NCAA Division I
Women's Championship

*Host Institution

Mountain Region

December 2 at Stan Sheriff Center

Utah (21-9) vs. Colorado (18-11), 5 p.m.
*Hawaii (27-1) vs. Prairie View (18-16), 7:30 p.m.

December 3 at Stan Sheriff Center

Utah/Colorado winner vs. Hawaii/Prairie View winner, 7 p.m.

December 2-3 at College Station, Texas

North Carolina (27-5) vs. Northern Ariz. (19-9);
*Texas A&M (25-5) vs. Stephen F. Austin (26-9)

December 2-3 at Fort Collins, Colorado

Louisville (19-11) vs. Kansas St. (20-8);
*Colorado St. (28-2) vs. Loyola (Ill.) (24-9)

December 3-4 at Long Beach, California

Arkansas (29-6) vs. Georgetown (27-4);
*Long Beach St. (27-3) vs. Florida A&M (23-8)
Tentative Mountain regional host: Hawaii, Dec. 9-10

Pacific Region

December 2-3 at Stanford, California

Santa Clara (20-10) vs. Cincinnati (28-6);
*Stanford (26-2) vs. Fla. Atlantic (17-12)

December 2-3 at Austin, Texas

Arizona (19-10) vs. Virginia (19-11);
*Texas (21-7) vs. Houston (21-10)

December 2-3 at Lincoln, Nebraska

James Madison (26-6) vs. San Diego (22-5);
*Nebraska (25-5) vs. Davidson (31-3)

December 2-3 at Santa Barbara, California

Loyola Marymount (19-10) vs. Southeast Mo. St. (28-5);
*UC Santa Barbara (26-5) vs. Oral Roberts (23-12)
Tentative Dec. 9-12 regional host: Stanford

Central Region

First and second roundsDecember 3-4 at University Park, Pennsylvania

Temple (25-5) vs. Baylor (25-8);
*Penn St. (30-1) vs. Robert Morris (19-14)

December 3-4 at Los Angeles, California

Minnesota (25-8) vs. Cal St. Sacramento (22-9);
*Southern California (20-8) vs. Hofstra (26-5)

December 4-5 at Los Angeles, California

Ohio St. (16-11) vs. Notre Dame (20-8);
*UCLA (25-3) vs. Eastern Wash. (24-7)

December 3-4 at Malibu, California

Cal Poly (20-8) vs. Michigan St. (20-12);
*Pepperdine (24-3) vs. Arkansas St. (28-6)
Tentative Dec. 9-12 regional host: Penn State

East Region

December 3-4 at Stockton, California

Michigan (15-14) vs. Fairfield (30-3);
*Pacific (Cal.) (28-2) vs. Colgate (17-17)

December 2-3 at Clemson, South Carolina

Northern Iowa (28-0) vs. Ball St. (28-6);
*Clemson (31-2) vs. Indiana (19-10)

December 3-4 at Provo, Utah

Arizona St. (14-12) vs. Wisconsin (21-9);
*Brigham Young (26-4) vs. Princeton (23-6)

December 2-3 at Gainesville, Florida

Illinois (16-10) vs. Wis.-Milwaukee (25-3);
*Florida (30-2) vs. Liberty (22-9)
Tentative Dec. 9-12 regional host: Pacific

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