IRVINE, Calif. >> In an announcement that evoked tears and rousing applause on Saturday morning, the University of Hawaii volleyball team received an at-large berth in the NCAA tournament.
The Warriors and Penn State will meet in a play-in match on Tuesday at Stanford, Calif. First serve is scheduled for 5 p.m. Hawaii time.
The winner will play No. 1 seed Lewis on Thursday.
The Warriors gathered in a hotel conference room to watch the announcement on the NCAA’s website. The Warriors used a projector to show the footage on the conference wall.
After the Warriors were invited, the players and coaches broke into thunderous applause. The players then began to chant: “Sixty dollars! Sixty dollars!” That was a reference to the per diem they will receive for participating in the NCAA-hosted event.
“They figured that out,” UH coach Charlie Wade said, smiling.
Soon after, Wade addressed the team in an emotional speech interrupted several times when he choked back tears. Wade spoke of the pursuit of an NCAA berth that had taken, for some, several years.
“We get a second chance,” said opposite attacker Brook Sedore, whose Warriors lost to Pepperdine in the semifinals of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation tournament on Thursday. But Pepperdine lost to UC Irvine in the MPSF title match on Friday. Irvine received the league’s automatic bid and the No. 2 seed. UH had met most of the nine-point criteria to earn the at-large berth over Pepperdine.
OC Sports will televise Tuesday’s UH-Penn State match.