Sand team opens March 15

from UH this morning..

The University of Hawai’i unveiled its 2013 women’s sand volleyball schedule as the program enters its second season as a collegiate sport. The Rainbow Wahine program will play at least a dozen regular-season dual matches, participate in three tournaments and host a pair of home events.

UH will open the season by hosting Florida International on Friday, March 15th. UH’s season-opening match—along with all other home events and practices—will again be at the Queen’s Beach Sand Box in majestic Waikiki. After its dual match on March 15, the Rainbow Wahine will host FIU, Chaminade and Hawai’i Pacific in tournament action on Saturday, March 16.

The rest of the schedule will take the Rainbow Wahine to California and Arizona for a slew of dual matches and tournaments. With more teams in the collegiate sand volleyball fray this year, UH play will have at least two more dual matches than it did last year (10). Highlighting the dual match schedule are meetings in Southern California with first-year programs Nebraska (March 22) and UCLA (April 5). Also on the horizon is a showdown with defending national champion Pepperdine in Malibu on April 6.

On April 20-21, UH will compete in the USAV Beach Collegiate Challenge at Hermosa Beach, Calif. Last year the tournament served as the de facto West region’s qualifying competition for the inaugural national championship and could again prove critical to a possible UH appearance in the nationals.

“This year my two goals were to schedule as many top national sand volleyball programs as possible,” head coach Scott Wong said, “and to host some of those top teams in Hawai’i. We have a very tough schedule on the road and also get the opportunity to host one of the top East Coast teams in Florida International. I hope this will be the start of us attracting the top sand programs across the country to compete here in Hawai’i.”

For the second straight year the American Volleyball Coaches Association will host the Collegiate Sand Volleyball Championship in Gulf Shores, Ala., with the dates set for May 3-5. The competition will consist of both a team championship, which will include the top six NCAA women’s sand teams, and a pairs championship, which will consist of the top 16 collegiate doubles teams.

Invitations to participate will be based on 2013 season results and tournament selections will be made by a committee. Last year the duos of Jane CrosonAshley Lee and Emily HartongElizabeth Stoltzman represented UH in the pairs championship.