POSTED: 11:37 a.m. HST, Jan 25, 2011
The University of Hawaii Rainbow Wahine softball team, whose magical season took it to the College World Series last season, is ranked No. 8 in the USA Today/NFCA preseason softball poll and No. 13 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll.
It is the highest preseason rankings for the Rainbow Wahine in school history.
UH (50-16) enjoyed its best season in the program's history, setting the NCAA record for home runs in a season (158) while advancing to its first world series.
The Wahine return Melissa Gonzalez and Kelly Majam, along with Western Athletic Conference Player of the Year Jessica Iwata, and WAC Pitcher of the Year Stephanie Ricketts. In all, the Wahine return 16 players, including seven starters.
UH opens its season by hosting the Oceanic Time Warner Cable Paradise Classic, Feb. 10-12. The tournament features Texas State, Southern Utah, and UH's NCAA Regional-opening game opponent from last season, UC Davis.
The Rainbow Wahine schedule will feature 10 teams that advanced to the NCAA tournament last season and five teams ranked in the 2011 preseason top 25 polls in Oklahoma, California Oregon, Stanford and BYU.