On this date in 1979, the Rainbow Wahine volleyball team took an important step toward a national championship.
While fans at home were celebrating a 52-3 victory over the Santa Clara football team, Dave Shoji’s Rainbow Wahine were left to ponder what life is like as the top team in the nation.
Rocky Elias led Hawaii to an impressive 15-6, 10-15, 15-13 sweep over previously unbeaten Utah State for the championship of the Nissin Tournament in Los Angeles. The Rainbow Wahine entered the tournament ranked No. 1 in the nation and finished it as such with the sweep over the No. 2 Aggies. Pepperdine and UCLA were also in the tournament with No. 3 Pepperdine taking third and No. 4 UCLA placing fourth.
Elias was named the Most Valuable Player of the tournament and was joined by Terry Malterre and Angie Andrade on the all-tournament team. Linda Chilsholn of Pepperdine, Denise Corlett of UCLA and Utah State’s Lucia Chudy and Annette Cottle rounded out the elite list.
Hawaii went on to beat Utah State for its first national crown two months later.