HONOLULU-University of Hawaii softball head coach Bob Coolen released the 2015 softball schedule which features teams from 14 different conferences with nine squads that advanced to the 2014 NCAA tournament. The Rainbow Wahine will play a total of 56 games this year-six at neutral sites, nine away games and 41 home games. For the first time ever, the 'Bows will host five non-conference tournaments and they will also make their annual trip to play in UNLV's Wilson/Demarini Desert Classic (Feb. 12-15) in Las Vegas, Nev. It is the 40th season for the Hawaii softball program.
Rainbow Wahine fans will have their first opportunity to watch the 2015 softball squad this fall, in the Kama'aina Classic this Nov. 4-8. The 'Bows will face BYU-Hawaii, Chaminade and UH Hilo in a six-game tournament. Each team will play each other once. Hawaii will also renew its rivalry with their Alumnae Game on Nov. 15 at 6:00 p.m.
Hawaii officially opens the 2015 season with a bang with the Oceanic Time Warner Cable Paradise Classic (Feb. 5-7)-featuring DePaul, Oklahoma, and St. Mary's. DePaul and Oklahoma both won their conference titles and played in last season's NCAA tournament with the Sooners advancing to their ninth Women's College World Series. Last season, the Blue Demons posted a 44-11 overall record and an 18-1 mark in the Big East. Oklahoma went 51-13 overall and 16-2 in the Big 12 while the Gaels were 23-27 with an 8-7 record in West Coast Conference games.
The 'Bows then will test their luck with their annual trip to Las Vegas, Nev. In this year's UNLV tournament, UH will face BYU, Utah State, Utah Valley, UCLA, Seattle and Portland State. The Cougars and the UVU Wolverines both won conference titles for the WCC and Western Athletic Conference respectively last season and along with UCLA all played in the NCAA tournament.
The Rainbow Wahine will then return home to begin a 27-game home stand as they host four consecutive tournaments beginning with the Bank of Hawaii Invitational which runs from Feb. 20-22. The Invitational features the reigning American Athletic Conference champions, UCF (Central Florida), UTEP, and perennial power, Washington.
The 'Bows then begin the Pepsi Malihini Kipa Aloha Tournament (Feb. 26-Mar. 1). San Jose State, California and Longwood will be competing in the tourney.
Hawaii will then host the five-team Hawaii Spring Fling Tournament (Mar. 4-8) with Oregon State, East Carolina, Utah and Longwood, who will be staying for two straight tourneys. On Mar. 10, the 'Bows will face East Carolina in an extra doubleheader before kicking off their final non-conference tourney of the year-the five-team Rainbow Wahine Classic with Virginia Tech, St. Bonaventure, Western Illinois and Columbia.
The Rainbow Wahine will play a doubleheader against Columbia on Mar. 17 and then after a 10-day layoff, will start Big West play at home against UC Riverside on Mar. 27 at 6:00 p.m. The 'Bows will have a total of four Big West conference series at home against UCR, defending BWC champions Long Beach State (Apr. 10-11), UC Santa Barbara (Apr. 24-25), and will end the season against UC Davis (May 8-9).
Hawaii returns 13 letterwinners and one redshirt from last year's team that posted a 22-28 overall record. The Rainbow Wahine are led by senior first baseman Leisha Li'ili'i who had team-highs in average (.401), hits (55), walks (34), home runs (15) and RBI (39). Outfielder Keiki Carlos returns for her junior campaign after hitting a solid .296 batting average (48-for-162) with a team-high 36 runs scored and 11 doubles. The 'Bows welcome in seven newcomers to the team--three transfers and four freshmen.
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