Rainbow Forecast: Basketball teams open 2019-20; football seeks bounce-back; soccer in Big West tournament

Hawaii’s bench celebrated after a play against Chaminade in an exhibition last week. UH opens 2019-20 with the four-team Rainbow Classic this weekend. / Photo by Andrew Lee, Special to the Star-Advertiser

The overlap has begun.

Hawaii’s fall and winter sports seasons officially intermingle this week with the start of the 2019-20 men’s and women’s basketball seasons.

Meanwhile, UH soccer plays its biggest match in years when it takes on host Cal State Fullerton in the Big West tournament semifinals on Thursday. UH volleyball, riding high after two big home wins over Big West contenders UC Santa Barbara and Cal Poly, must try to follow that up with wins in its last two Big West road games.

And UH football will look to respond to a disappointing Saturday at Aloha Stadium — both in terms of its 41-38 loss to Fresno State and the pittance of a crowd. The Rainbow Warriors host spunkier-than-usual San Jose State on Saturday in a game that could well determine whether UH makes the Hawaii Bowl or not this year.

The UH cross country team placed eighth of nine Big West teams at Saturday’s league championship meet in Riverside. That’s actually an improvement from last place the last two years.

UH women’s golf, softball, and men’s and women’s swimming and diving are also in action this week.

Women’s golf: Pac-12 Preview, all day
Tyra Tonkham tied for fourth individually at last week’s Rainbow Wahine Invite at Kapolei Golf Course, but UH finished ninth of 14 teams overall. This week the Wahine are in Kailua-Kona for the Pac-12 Preview tournament at Nanea. UH is the host for this three-day event.

Women’s basketball: San Diego State (0-0) at Hawaii (0-0), 7 p.m. (Spectrum Sports, KKEA 1420-AM)
Laura Beeman kicks off her eighth season in Manoa by opening at home for the second straight year (and only two years she’s been here). The Rainbow Wahine, who held off scrappy HPU in an exhibition a week ago, have a freshman point guard in Nae Nae Calhoun but some experienced players like Julissa Tago, Amy Atwell, Courtney Middap and even sophomore Myrrah Joseph to call upon. The Aztecs edged UH 58-57 in San Diego, the second game of the year in 2018-19, contributing to a slow start to the season. UH eventually finished 15-17 (10-6 Big West) with a WNIT appearance.

Women’s golf: Pac-12 Preview, all day
Event continues

Women’s golf: Pac-12 Preview all day
Event concludes

Soccer: Hawaii (6-7-4, 4-1-3) at Cal State Fullerton (12-2-4, 5-0-3), 5:30 p.m.
How about that? Losing overall record or not, the Rainbow Wahine are in the Big West tournament for the first time, with the program’s first NCAA tournament berth since 2007 on the table. It’s probably fitting that Michele Nagamine’s group must face their longtime nemesis, Fullerton, right off the bat, at the Titans’ field no less. UH earned its first result (win or draw) at that site on Oct. 20, a watershed moment for a program that’d been 0-7 against CSF in Big West play previously. There can be no ties in this rematch — it will go to penalty kicks if need be. The winner advances to Sunday’s championship game against either CSUN or UCSB at Fullerton.

Women’s volleyball: Hawaii (20-3, 10-2 Big West) at UC Davis (13-11, 5-6), 5 p.m. (KHKA 1500-AM)
You might think the Rainbow Wahine are home free to the Big West title after hanging the second conference loss of the year on both UCSB and Cal Poly last week, but there’s still quite a bit of work to do — four matches. That starts with this final regular-season road trip. Davis was dangerous in the SSC, jumping out to a 2-0 sets lead before Brooke Van Sickle appeared and roused the Wahine to the reverse-sweep victory. Injured hitter Jolie Rasmussen remains a big question mark as things turn towards the postseason, but UH has won seven in a row anyway.

Men’s basketball: Florida A&M (0-0) at Hawaii (0-0), 7 p.m. (Spectrum Sports, KKEA 1420-AM)
Eran Ganot launches his fifth season as Manoa head coach by taking on the Rattlers of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference in the four-team round-robin Outrigger Rainbow Classic. UH has never lost to a MEAC school. However, it looked shaky in the first half against Chaminade in last week’s exhibition before the Rainbow Warriors finally pulled away in the final 10 minutes of the game for an 83-66 victory. UH did not shoot the ball or execute particularly well. The Rainbows are dependent on redshirt junior point guard Drew Buggs to lead the way with his playmaking, while forwards Zigmars Raimo and Samuta Avea will likely be carrying much of the scoring load this year coming off an 18-13 (9-7 Big West) season in 2018-19. Florida A&M went 12-19 last year (9-7 MEAC).

Softball: Chaminade at Hawaii, 5 p.m.; Fullerton College at Hawaii, 7 p.m.
These are the first of a handful of exhibitions in the Fall Preseason Classic through the weekend. Coach Bob Coolen will trot out his new squad coming off a 33-16 season (14-7 Big West) that saw the Wahine place second in the BWC.

Football: San Jose State (4-5, 1-4 Mountain West) at Hawaii (5-4, 2-3), 6 p.m. (Spectrum PPV, KKEA 1420-AM)
It looks like a typical San Jose State record in conference play, but this is anything but a typical San Jose State season. The Spartans have played up-and-up with just about everybody this year behind quarterback Josh Love. They threatened Boise State at home last weekend, leading much of the way before losing 52-42. UH has gotten the better of this series of late, winning three straight to reclaim the overall lead at 21-19-1. Who can forget last year’s quintuple-overtime showdown at Spartan Stadium? You can bet the Spartans haven’t. The Warriors are coming off a brutal home loss to Fresno State, 41-38, in which UH nearly overcame its sloppy play to rally behind backup quarterback Chevan Cordeiro. Fresno kicker Cesar Silva had other ideas, booting the game-winner in walk-off fashion from 37 yards. Will UH shake that off in time to salvage a bowl game?

Men’s and women’s swimming and diving: Hawaii Sunshine Invitational, all day
First meet at home for the Rainbow Warriors/Wahine after they were at Arizona in late October. There’s also a Senior Meet listed at Punahou on this day.

Softball: Fullerton College at Hawaii, noon
Continuation of Fall Preseason Classic

Women’s volleyball: Hawaii at UC Riverside (5-17, 1-10), noon (KHKA 1500-AM)
You’d expect the Rainbow Wahine to make short work of the Highlanders, as they did in Honolulu despite not playing particularly well. Regardless, UH will take an RPI hit from this match.

Men’s basketball: South Dakota at Hawaii, 5 p.m. (Spectrum Sports, KKEA 1420-AM)
Like UH and Florida A&M, this will be the first meeting between the programs. The Coyotes of the Summit League will be coming off a game against Pacific on Friday. USD went 13-17 last year (7-9 Summit). This could be more of a test for the Rainbows than Night 1 of the Rainbow Classic.

Soccer: Big West championship, TBD
Were the Wahine to make it this far, it would represent another program first. The only time they’ve won a conference tournament championship was the 2007 WAC tournament for their only NCAA appearance to date.

Softball: Chaminade at Hawaii, 2 p.m.
Conclusion of Fall Preseason Classic


  1. Matt November 4, 2019 4:20 pm

    Just looked at the 2020 softball roster, two players aren’t on there; Madison “Maddie” Veldman and Tatumn Satow are no longer on there. Comes out as shocking to say the least. I wonder what happened to them.

  2. DLO November 5, 2019 5:02 am

    I paid on the 0 and 12 team with von Appen as the coach. There were more people in the stands then, when we were the worst team in all of the NCAA. We were ranked something like 129th out of 130 teams.
    Why are there no fans in the stands, less fans at aloha stadium than a no win team in 1998-99.
    It was great to play under June jones tho, we turned it around and the stands were packed and aloha stadium was rocking (literally).
    Why are the seats empty? Why does wahine volleyball have more attendance than football right now?

  3. H-Man November 5, 2019 7:59 am

    You mean the softball roster finally released. It’s November!

  4. H-Man November 5, 2019 8:21 am

    Looking over the roster, counted 12 new freshmen. Six are from Hawaii schools. The other six from California (4) and Colorado (2). Can’t remember the last time so many from Hawaii in one recruiting class. Big question is, “What will life be without Brittany Hitchcock?” And “Who’s going to step up to take her place?”

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