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top wahine volleyball stories and columns
Playing volleyball in the Stan Sheriff Center is an experience like no other. Olivia Magill discovered that last season … and she was playing AGAINST the home team.

Consider it a March Madness bracket challenge, sand volleyball style. And, just as the late Jim Valvano said, "Survive and advance." The top-seeded pair of Kirby Burnham-Sarah Hughes did more than survive in the gold championship bracket on Saturday.

Hawaii middle blocker Jade Vorster will not return next season to play for the Rainbow Wahine volleyball team, Hawaii coach Dave Shoji announced Thursday.

It was as close as it could be between Nos. 2 and 3. A few grains of sand of separation it seemed from the way it ended. Third-ranked Hawaii moving up two spots in Wednesday's AVCA Collegiate Sand Poll came up just short against No. 2 USC, falling to the Women of Troy 3-2 in the last dual match of a triple header at Queen's Beach Sandbox.

No. 5 Hawaii came into Saturday's USAV Beach Collegiate Challenge undefeated at 3-0. Less than an hour later, that perfect record was gone, swept away by No. 1 Pepperdine 5-0 on the sands of the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif.

It's as much about this week as it is about this season. It's also about two years from now and beyond. The goals of the Hawaii sand volleyball program are both short- and long-term.

Perhaps it wasn't a huge surprise that it would be an all-Hawaii final Saturday at Queen's Beach. After all, it WAS the Rainbow Wahine Invitational sand tournament and the No. 5 SandBows had gone 3-0 in Friday's dual play, topping No. 3 Long Beach State, No. 10 Stanford and unranked Loyola Marymount.

With a 2-1 victory at No. 1 pairs in the final match of the day, Hawaii edged defending national champion Long Beach State 3-2 to finish undefeated Friday, opening the sand volleyball season 3-0.

A new documentary hopes to articulate the impact Patsy T. Mink and Hawaii played in gender equality with "Rise of the Wahine."

Rainbow Wahine volleyball coach Dave Shoji sent holiday greetings to Hawaii from halfway around the world Saturday, tweeting that he would return for a 40th season.

Hawaii senior Emily Hartong is a step closer to becoming a two-time first-team All-American after being named to the American Volleyball Coaches Association All-Pacific North Region Team on Tuesday. Freshman teammate Nikki Taylor received honorable mention.

From the moment Hawaii blasted defending NCAA champion Texas on opening night, it has been a volleyball season on the brink — of glory and disappointment — for everybody, it seems.

Seven Hawaii seniors went down swinging with their teammates Saturday, falling to a Brigham Young volleyball team playing at a ridiculously high level in the second round of the NCAA tournament.

In a volleyball performance that scared no one but Hawaii, the 11th-seeded Rainbow Wahine found their form late Friday to pull away from Idaho State in their NCAA tournament first-round match. The scores were 25-16, 19-25, 25-12, 25-13, before a Stan Sheriff Center crowd of 7,809.

Until tonight, Hawaii's NCAA tournament has been all about playing in front of the Rainbow Wahine's record-setting and long-suffering volleyball fans, who have only seen their team play at home in the postseason twice since 2003.

Hawaii's volleyball season is four months old as it opens the NCAA tournament Friday at the Stan Sheriff Center. So far, three distinct Rainbow Wahine teams have appeared.

When the Big West Conference reopened its membership doors to the University of Hawaii in 2012, it was the league’s volleyball faithful who did most of the celebrating.

Hawaii senior Emily Hartong earned one more honor from the Big West, securing her fourth Player of the Week Award of the season. It is the eighth weekly BWC honor of Hartong's career.

Hawaii senior Emily Hartong leaves Big West volleyball the way she found it. She clobbered the conference when the Rainbow Wahine rejoined it last year and never let up.

On a rare drizzly day in Hawaii, the NCAA gave the Rainbow Wahine a rare opportunity. The Wahine were seeded 11th when the NCAA Volleyball Championship bracket was announced Sunday. They will stay home — for only the second time in the past 10 years — for the first two rounds.

FULLERTON, Calif. » After being picked unanimously to win the Big West Conference before the women's volleyball season began, Hawaii ended it with a piece of the conference title.

Fueled by All-American Emily Hartong's 20 kills, 12th-ranked Hawaii pulled away from UC Riverside, 25-20, 25-15, 25-18, Friday in Riverside, Calif.

Hawaii's volleyball attendance race with Nebraska might go down to the wire, but the Cornhuskers have history on their side. The Wahine have led the country in attendance every year since moving into the Stan Sheriff Center in 1994.

After a week that brought joy to most of its volleyball world, 12th-ranked Hawaii plays its final two Big West matches this weekend. It might have nothing to win at UC Riverside tonight and Cal State Fullerton on Saturday, or it might have nothing to lose.

Payback is rich. On a loud senior night, 12th-ranked Hawaii swept Cal State Northridge 25-19, 25-20, 25-21 Saturday. It finished off a weekend of volleyball vengeance for the Rainbow Wahine -- almost.

Two down and tonight to go. Hawaii avenged its second Big West volleyball loss Friday, flattening UC Davis 25-19, 25-17, 25-19 before a Stan Sheriff Center crowd of 5,440.

Over a phenomenal four-year Hawaii career, the wonder of All-American Emily Hartong's athleticism on the volleyball court has been a constant. What her Rainbow Wahine teammates appreciate most, however, has little to do with physical gifts or a relentlessness matched only by her competitiveness.

Hawaii is ranked 12th and crept up to 10th in the NCAA RPI (power rating) following its bye week. The Rainbow Wahine want to win their final four Big West Conference matches and host an NCAA subregional next month, and possibly claim their 19th consecutive regular-season conference championship.

A trio of imposing prospects and Hawaii's first recruit out of Farrington will have Rainbow Wahine volleyball coach Dave Shoji deep into skill development next season.

At first glance, it appears Rainbow Wahine volleyball went looking for another Emily Hartong on the first day high school seniors could sign letters of intent. They also found an Ali Longo clone close to home.

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