Hawaii’s three primary fall sports — football, women’s volleyball, and soccer — are coming off drastically different outcomes heading into this week’s Forecast.
The UH football team is reeling a bit coming off a 56-26 home loss to Air Force, and that was followed up by Monday’s news that receiver and return man Melquise Stovall was dismissed from the team. The Rainbow Warriors (4-3, 1-2 Mountain West) are at a pivotal moment of their season heading up to Albuquerque, N.M., as an 11-point favorite against the struggling New Mexico Lobos, losers of four straight. UH might be able to salvage a run at the West Division title, but it will require a string of victories starting right now.
UH volleyball succeeded in two home matches last week, but shakily. The Rainbow Wahine (16-3, 6-2 Big West), who are now No. 21, weren’t exactly clicking on all cylinders in a sweep of lowly UC Riverside. Then, on Sunday, they required an inspiring comeback from Brooke Van Sickle to pull off a reverse sweep of UC Davis on the 25th-year celebration of the opening of the Stan Sheriff Center.
It’s senior week for the soccer team, which is riding high coming off a 1-0-1 road trip that saw it pick up its first result against Cal State Fullerton to date in conference play. UH has never started a conference season — going back to its first WAC season in 1996 — as well as these Wahine have in the Big West (3-0-1). Senior goalkeeper Lex Mata was just named the Big West Defensive Player of the Week for the second time this season and sixth of her career.
The UH swimming and diving teams are also in action for the first time this season.
Soccer: Cal Poly (4-9-2, 1-2-1 Big West) at Hawaii (5-6-2, 3-0-1), 7 p.m. (Spectrum Sports)
Hawaii has a huge opportunity at home to seize upon what it’s done through four BWC games. If it can net a combination of a win and a draw at Waipio Peninsula Soccer Stadium, the Wahine will have basically punched their Big West tournament ticket with two road games still to play. But they’ll have to be on their game against the Mustangs, who are coming off a win and a draw in their last two away matches. CP will undoubtedly be looking for some payback coming off a 4-0 home loss to the Wahine last year.
Women’s volleyball: Hawaii (16-3, 6-2 Big West) at Cal State Fullerton (10-8, 2-5), 4 p.m. (KHKA 1500-AM)
The Wahine barely pulled off a home win over the Titans on Oct. 5, needing a reverse sweep to keep their record against CSF perfect at 41-0 all-time. Fifth-year coach Ashley Preston spoke after that one about her team’s progress and looked forward to the rematch in Titan Gym. Well, that rematch is here. UH, at least, has Van Sickle back but the timing of the return of Jolie Rasmussen is still anyone’s best guess.
Men’s and women’s swimming and diving: Vs. Arizona and Denver, 10 a.m.
The Rainbow Warriors and Wahine swim/dive teams, which both won MPSF championships last year, open their respective seasons in Tucson against the Wildcats and the Pioneers. Elliot Ptasnik has taken over as head coach of the swim squads, replacing Dan Schemmel, who was hired by Stanford in the offseason.
Football: Hawaii (4-3, 1-2 Mountain West) at New Mexico (2-5, 0-3), 10 a.m. (Spectrum PPV, KKEA 1420-AM)
Hawaii has lost its last two games by giving up a combined 115 points, its most in consecutive games since Norm Chow’s first year of 2012. You know things have taken a turn for the worse if you’re comparing things to Chow Time. Now, UH is expected to bounce back this week, but the Warriors have struggled mightily against the Lobos for quite some time. Seven straight have gone to UNM in the series after UH had won 10 in a row, the last of which coming in 1991. No wonder UNM made this its homecoming game. This is UH’s third straight cross-divisional matchup in the MWC before UH plays four West Division foes in the next four weeks — three of those at home, including against contenders Fresno State and San Diego State. So, it’s imperative UH does not stumble against the Lobos, who are 130th — dead last — among FBS teams in passing defense, yielding 348 such yards per game (14.67 per completion). The last time UH played at UNM’s University Stadium (now called DreamStyle Stadium), Chow’s ‘Bows suffered a wrenching 28-27 loss in which UNM trailed most of the way but came back in the last minute by switching up its option offense to a spread attack. There was also a missed 22-yard field goal by reliable Rigo Sanchez.
Women’s volleyball: Hawaii at UC Irvine (4-15, 1-6), 4 p.m. (KHKA, 1500-AM)
UH paid for it sloppy play against the Anteaters on Oct. 4, succumbing to a reverse sweep as UCI beat UH for the first time in 41 meetings. But the Anteaters have done nothing with that since, dropping three matches, including getting swept at Long Beach State last Saturday. The Wahine will likely have to sweep these two matches to keep pace a half game behind Big West leaders Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara before both those teams visit Honolulu for huge matches next week.
Men’s and women’s swimming and diving: Vs. Arizona and Denver, noon
The two-day meet concludes.
Soccer: UC Santa Barbara (6-4-4, 2-1-1) at Hawaii, 5 p.m. (Spectrum Sports)
UH seniors Mata, Madison Moore, Kiri Dale, Mikaelah Johnson-Griggs and Kayla Watanabe will be honored after this match. UH is 2-4-2 in senior game matches under ninth-year coach Michele Nagamine, with the last win coming in 2013 against Cal State Northridge. The Gauchos are coming off a loss and a draw in their last two after a 2-0 start to league play.