Rainbow Forecast: Hawaii football off, volleyball and soccer home for Big West

Hawaii goalkeeper Alexis Mata and her Rainbow Wahine teammates open Big West play on Thursday against Cal State Northridge. / Photo by Steven Erler, Special to the Star-Advertiser

Its duties accomplished for the moment, the Hawaii football team exits stage left to make way for the Rainbow Wahine volleyball and soccer squads in this week’s Rainbow Forecast.

The Rainbow Warriors (4-1, 1-0 Mountain West) and newly minted Big West Offensive Player of the Week Cole McDonald get a well-deserved break this week coming off their emphatic 54-3 win over Nevada in Reno — and ensuing travel difficulties getting home. The bye could serve the Warriors well heading into an especially meaningful contest at No. 16 Boise State next week.

The UH women’s volleyball team (12-1 overall) remained at No. 11 after a pair of four-set wins to open Big West play on the road last week.

After an 11-day break from games, Michele Nagamine’s soccer squad opens up its eight-game Big West season out at the Waipio Peninsula Soccer Stadium on Thursday.

The women’s tennis and cross country teams are in action on the mainland.

Soccer: Cal State Northridge (6-3-3) at Hawaii (2-6-1), 7 p.m.
The Wahine have had time to lick their wounds following their 4-0 loss to then-No. 5 UCLA at Waipio Peninsula Soccer Stadium. The young squad felt battle-tested through their nonconference slate, which is good, because CSUN offers a tough test right off the bat in a single-game week. The Matadors have the second-best record through nonconference play among the nine Big West teams. They dropped their last two but drew against Kansas State and Arizona State, and they beat San Diego. UH is 0-7 in its Big West openers since joining the conference in 2012.

Women’s volleyball: UC Irvine (3-12, 0-3) at Hawaii, (12-1, 2-0), 7 p.m. (Spectrum OC 16, KKEA 1420-AM)
As dicey as it occasionally got in the pair of four-setters, UH swept the Long Beach State-CSUN road swing for the ___ straight season, giving Robyn Ah Mow her 50th win in her third season as UH coach. Meanwhile, struggling Irvine succumbed to a three-match week, taking UC Davis to five sets in the opener but then getting swept by UC Santa Barbara and Cal Poly. For the Wahine, freshman Riley Wagoner is coming off her first career double-double (11 kills, 10 digs). The status of hitter Jolie Rasmussen remains up in the air this week.

Women’s volleyball: Cal State Fullerton (8-6, 0-3) at Hawaii, 7 p.m. (Spectrum OC 16, KKEA 1420-AM)
Like Irvine, Fullerton got off to a rough start in league play in a three-match week. The Titans took only one set in losses to UC Riverside, Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara. Like UH’s all-time series against Irvine, the Wahine are 40-0 all-time against the Titans. This match is preceded by the annual Wahine alumnae game at 4:30.

Women’s tennis: ITA All-American tournament/UH Anuenue Invitational, 8 a.m.
Wahine All-American Petra Melounova got an early bead on competition for her senior season, as she won her first-round match before losing to a top-10 NCAA player in the round of 16 at the Oracle ITA Masters tournament at Pepperdine last week. The 33rd-ranked Melounova, who was the only UH player to participate in that elite event, will be joined by two teammates at this week’s event in Tulsa, Okla, while others will stay at home and play in the Anuenue event.

Cross country: Hawaii Pacific Invitational, 7 a.m.
Shannon McLish paced the Wahine with a 58th-place individual finish at the Capital Cross Challenge in Sacramento, Calif., over the weekend. UH placed 31st of 40 teams. This week, the Wahine take to the Kahuku Golf Course for HPU’s event.

Women’s tennis: ITA All-American tournament/UH Anuenue Invitational, 8 a.m.
The two-day events conclude.