A lot happened in the realm of University of Hawaii athletics on Saturday, the 22nd of February.
Some of it was excellent, some so-so, and some UH fans would probably sooner forget. Just about every spring sport was in action in form or fashion, with the notable exception being the No. 1 UH men’s volleyball team, which had a bye week. UH tennis also did not play Saturday.
The singular greatest achievements were had by the men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams, which swept the MPSF championships for the second straight year (see below).
Here’s a quick recap of what you might have missed, sport by sport.
>> Men’s basketball: The Rainbow Warriors got mired in the muck with Long Beach State for the second time in two weeks and never quite managed to extricate themselves, although they tried to rally down the stretch in a 64-60 loss at the Walter Pyramid. The loss was the fifth in six games for UH (15-11, 6-6 Big West). In the loss, senior shooting guard Eddie Stansberry hit five 3-pointers for 19 points and surpassed by one his own triples total of 77 from last season, moving ahead of the mark he shared with Jack Purchase for sole possession of sixth on the UH single-season list.
>> Women’s basketball: Alas, all the grit the Rainbow Wahine displayed during their six-game winning streak did not or could not avail them in a 65-48 loss to first-place UC Davis at the Stan Sheriff Center. Julissa Tago and Amy Atwell were both held in check for the first time in quite a while (center Lauren Rewers did her part with a career-high-tying 17 points) and the Aggies had the run of things in the fourth quarter, outscoring UH 16-2 to finish the game after Savannah Reier hit a 3-pointer to open the final period. UH (14-11, 8-4 Big West) dropped a game and a half behind UCD (15-11, 10-3) with four and three games left before the BWC tournament, respectively.
>> Baseball: A successful start to the season continued for the Rainbow Warriors, as UH (7-2) successfully switched Tyler Best to the leadoff spot for a game and Kole Kaler provided a couple of RBIs in UH’s 4-3 win over Washington State, guaranteeing themselves at least a series split at Les Murakami Stadium going into Sunday afternoon’s game. Cade Halemanu, Carter Loewen and Jeremy Wu-Yelland combined for 4 2/3 innings of scoreless relief.
>> Softball: The Rainbow Wahine came very close to coming out on the right side of two tight contests in the Hawaii Invitational, first pulling off a walk-off win over Kansas City, 3-2, thanks to Brittany Rossi’s RBI single in the bottom of the seventh and Ashley Murphy’s pitching. Then, against Iowa of the Big Ten, UH tied the game at 1-1 in the bottom of the seventh on Cheeks Ramos’ two-out single up the middle. However, the Hawkeyes would prevail 2-1 in the eighth inning. Izzy Dino was the hard-luck loser in pitching all eight frames. UH caps the tournament against Portland State at 2 p.m. Sunday.
>> Beach volleyball: The fifth-ranked SandBows opened their 2020 season in fine fashion, going 2-1 on the opening day of the Outrigger Duke Kahanamoku Beach Classic at Queen’s Beach. After taking No. 1 UCLA to the brink of an upset in the morning (losing 3-2), Jeff Hall’s Wahine turned around and swept No. 19 Stanford on all five courts and edged No. 3 LSU, 3-2. The No. 2 flight of Julia Scoles and Maia Hannemann was the common thread in all three dual matches, as they went 3-0 on the day. UH was to face LSU again in the tournament semifinals at 10:30 Sunday morning, with a spot in the 3 p.m. championship (almost certainly against UCLA) on the line.
>> Swimming and diving: It was a banner day for the SwimBows, as the men and women combined to sweep the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation championships for the second straight year. First-year coach Elliot Ptasnik picked up where Dan Schemmel left off last year, as the UH women won their fourth straight MPSF title and the men their second. UH took home gold in 22 events — 17 individual and five relays — including 11 individual titles on the women’s side. The women held off UC Santa Barbara by 20 points, 726 to 706, while the men won decisively with 895.50 points, more than 150 ahead of runner-up BYU. On the women’s side, Phoebe Hines, Lucia Lassman, Karolina Hajkova, Kionna Clayton and Daphne Wils won two events apiece. The foursome of Hajkova, Calyton, Lassman and Anna Kotonen won two medley relays together. For the men, ‘Aukai Lileikis took home gold in the 100 fly and 100 free and he and Kane Follows, Olli Kokko and Mateusz Chaba combined on two relay golds.
>> Water polo: Third-ranked UH took its 11-0 record into the Barbara Kalbus Invitational at UC Irvine, and it was going to be quite the task to maintain that through the field with the likes of No. 1 Stanford, No. 2 UCLA, co-No. 3 USC and more in the field. It was a glorified national championship preview in the Anteaters’ pool. UH got the day started with a 15-5 rout of No. 5 Arizona State — the second time this season the Wahine topped the Sun Devils — to set up a semifinal with Stanford. UH’s Carmen Baringo (six goals on the day) struck first, but ultimately fell 9-6 in a competitive affair. UH followed up by falling 10-5 to UCLA on Sunday morning to take fourth in the stacked field.
>> Men’s golf: The Rainbow Warriors knew they were going up against a tough field in the 44th John A. Burns Intercollegiate, and it sure bore out that way. They also struggled, placing 20th among 21 teams at the Wailua Golf Course in Lihue. Freshman Kotaro Murata did the best among UH players, shooting a 4-under 212 for the three-day tournament to place in a tie for seventh individually. Tenth-ranked Texas A&M won the tourney by 19-under 845 as a team; UH shot 31-over 895, beating out Northern Colorado (899) to avoid last place.
>> Women’s golf: The Rainbow Wahine entered Sunday’s final round of the Grand Canyon Invitational in a tie for eighth among 14 teams; it appears the Wahine moved up slightly to finish in a tie for sixth. UH’s Sahara Washington shot a 1-under 71 on Day 2 of the tournament to make her the highest-finishing Wahine at a tie for 16th.