Wahine Softball Team Set to Begin Conference Tournament

MANOA (KHNL) -- It's a big night for the Rainbow Wahine softball team as they get set to begin the conference tournament.

It's an event 23 years in the making for Hawaii softball.

For the first time in its program's history, the team is hosting the conference tournament on its own field - an advantage in and of itself.

This year, the Wahine have won more than 70% of their home games.

Wrapping up the regular season with a three game home sweep of Utah State has left the Rainbow Wahine softball team feeling pretty good.

"I think we have a lot of confidence and momentum heading into this tournament," said Wahine outfielder Kaulana Gould.

Not to mention this tournament is being held in their backyard for the first time in school history.

"Being here, we're more comfortable we know how the ball bounces, we spend every day on this field so we know what happens so we're very excited," said Wahine pitcher Kate Robinson.

However, the team knows there's work to be done, and despite ending the regular season ranked 22nd in the nation, Hawaii won't take anything for granted.

"We need to go deep into the tournament, we can't falter early or we're going nowhere even though we were ranked most of the year and had a strong RPI, it doesn't matter," said Wahine head coach Bob Coolen.

The winner of the conference tournament gets an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament. And that's exactly what the Wahine have their sights set upon.

"The goal is definitely to win the WAC Tournament, we don't want to leave doubt in anyone's mind that we belong in postseason."

Last season the Wahine were one game shy of making it to the world series, something which still drives them today.

"We want to make it further than we did last year, we've had our challenges but we're still a good team and have the ability to accomplish what we set out to do."

The Wahine will duel it out with Louisiana Tech in this opening round of the tournament.

Hawaii went 2-0 against the Techsters this year.