The University of Hawaii Rainbow Wahine head into the first round of the NCAA Division I volleyball tournament as heavy favorites over Santa Clara, a West Coast Conference team that has never beaten UH in nine matches.
The Rainbow Wahine (26-2, 18-0 Big West) meet the Broncos (20-11, 9-7 WCC) at 3 p.m. HST today at the Alaska Airlines Arena in Seattle. The match will be broadcast live on OCSports, channels 16 and 1016 (HD) with Jim Leahey calling play-by-play and Chris McLachlin doing color commentary.
In the other first-round match, host and No. 13 seed Washington will play Central Arkansas. The winners will battle Saturday for a spot in the Omaha Regional.
It’s the second postseason trip in three years to Seattle for UH, which has won 19 straight. In 2010, Washington swept the Rainbow Wahine in straight sets in the second round.
Santa Clara, which has lost three in a row, is led by middle blocker Megan Anders, who named to the All-WCC first team. The 6-foot-4 junior averaged 3.28 kills per set on a .352 hitting percentage.
Taylor Milton, a 5-11 sophomore outside hitter, earned honorable mention.
UH outside hitter Emily Hartong was named the BWC’s Player of the Year. The 6-2 junior averaged 4.57 kills per set on a .283 hitting clip.
Middle blocker Jade Vorster, setter Mita Uiato and outside hitter Jane Croson also earned first-team honors.
Santa Clara is an at-large selection while UH is making its 20th consecutive trip and 31st overall to the postseason.