Hawaii water polo: Rainbow Wahine draw Cal in NCAA tournament

The Hawaii water polo team watched the NCAA selection show online at the Duke Kahanamoku Aquatic complex. / Photo by Brian McInnis

A cheer went up and the applause echoed in the water polo clubhouse at Duke Kahanamoku Aquatic Complex.

Hawaii learned Monday afternoon that it will face fourth-seeded California in the quarterfinals of the 10-team NCAA tournament on May 10 at Stanford. And that it was the Golden Bears, a team that fifth-ranked UH defeated during the regular season, was met with enthusiasm.

UH (18-5) captured its first Big West championship in four years over the weekend, a 7-6 edging of UC Irvine at Long Beach State.

It is the sixth all-time NCAA appearance for the UH water polo program, and third under coach Maureen Cole. UH last reached the semifinals in 2013, when it defeated UC San Diego in the quarters.

Against Cal (16-8), a team that hovered in the top five nationally like UH for most of the season, the Rainbow Wahine went 1-2. The Bears won 12-10 in a neutral-pool matchup on Feb. 23, and prevailed again, 10-9, in a matchup at Berkeley on March 10.

But when the Bears traveled to play at the DKAC, the Wahine got past them, 6-5, on March 29. It was a win that helped the Wahine come together late in the season.

Here’s some of what Cole and seniors Femke Aan and Irene Gonzalez had to say about the NCAA matchup and the past weekend.


Here’s the full bracket:


  1. nomu1001 April 30, 2019 3:29 pm

    Congratulations on winning the Big West title. Is any of this being streamed anywhere?

  2. Kazu April 30, 2019 7:00 pm

    Congratulations Wahine. Play hard and have fun at the NCAA tournament
    I am amazed as to how much Freshmen and Foreign players that are on this team.

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