The Rainbow Wahine volleyball team continues it's run at the NCAA tournament. The next step for Hawaii is regionals, starting with 8th ranked Illinois on Friday. It's the first top 10 team UH has faced since preseason play in September. If you ask the Wahine about that 12th seed they received from the NCAA a week ago, they'll say it's water under the bridge.
"We didn't really look at it as though oh we're the 12th seed. You know, it's their loss. We're just gonna come out and prove ourself and just let our play do our talking," said Hawaii setter Dani Mafua.
"We already showed that by beating SC from a big conference. We're over that. We've been over it for a week," said Hawaii head coach Dave Shoji.
Right now UH's focus is on getting through the regional finals and into the Final Four. But in order to do that they'll have to get by 5th ranked Illinois first. The Fighting Illini finished second in the Big-Ten and faced a tough schedule. By comparison the Big-Ten had 5-teams invited to the NCAA tournament. The WAC sent just one.
"I think that the factor is that they play tough teams night in and night out. It's like the pac-10, the big-10 is really tough all the way though one through eleven. It's not going to phase them to play Hawaii," said Shoji.
"There's an excitement factor but we know there's also a goal in mind. Playing through this weekend and playing the best that we possibly can. Playing our game, we are a little beaten up but it will be okay," said libero Jayme Lee.
Beaten up just a bit. Amber Kaufman and Aneli Cubi-Otineru took time off earlier this week to nurse nagging injuries. Kaufman had an abdominal strain and Otineru had a hurt knee. The Rainbow Wahine take on the Fighting Illini Friday at 3 in the afternoon local time.
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