HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - For the first time since 2015 and the 27th-time overall the University of Hawai'i women's volleyball team (26-3, 14-2 Big West) is advancing to the NCAA Championship Regionals.
The 18th-ranked Rainbow Wahine punched its ticket to Madison, Wisc. with a sweep over No. 20 San Diego in the NCAA Championship’s Second Round, this past weekend.
The Rainbow Wahine used a balanced attack with seven different players recording at least three kills to defeat the West Coast Conference champs.
Wahine head coach Robyn Ah Mow believes it’s the team maturation throughout the season, that has sparked their early tournament success.
“They all grew," said Ah Mow. “After the win this past weekend, I’m just like wow, these guys I mean on and off the court have come so far, plus with Jolie coming back, it’s full circle now.”
After missing majority of the season with injury outside hitter Jolie Rasmussen has reemerged as an offensive threat for the Wahine as they enter into the most vital stretch of the season.
The Oregon transfer admits that sitting out such a lengthy amount of time allowed her to experience the game from a different perspective.
“It’s been a long process," said Rasmussen. “I would say physically, emotionally, and mentally, but through it all I feel like I really grew as a person, and I’ve learned a lot about myself.”
Ahead of the Wahine’s departure for Madison for their much anticipated contest against Nebraska, on lower campus dozens of members of the UH Athletics department faculty, and staff, attended a final sendoff rally to encourage the team ahead of a National championship run.
Freshman Middle-Blocker Amber Igiede says the team is packed up for a road trip that will go far beyond just this weekend.
“Our team is packed up all the way to the finals," said Igiede. "As soon as we win the ‘Natty’ I’ll pack clothes to go back home to Louisiana.”
Wahine will take on Nebraska in the Sweet 16 Friday Dec. 13 at 11:30 Hawaii Time.
The winner will advance to to take on the winner of Texas A&M and host Wisconsin.
The game will be broadcast live on ESPN 3.