July 20, 2001
The University of Houston volleyball team has added a national caliber opponent to its 2001 home schedule with the inclusion of Hawaii in early October Cougar head coach Bill Walton announced on Friday, July 20.
Houston will face Hawaii at home in Hofheinz Pavilion on Wednesday, Oct. 3, at 7:30 p.m. The Rainbow Wahine are a perennial power that defended its No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament last year by advancing all the way to the Final Four. The match this October simultaneously adds a marquee opponent to Houston's home schedule while boosting the all-important RPI used to pick the eventual NCAA Tournament field in late November.
The Houston volleyball program has attracted a number of nationally ranked teams to Hofheinz Pavilion in recent years, including Long Beach State, Florida and Stanford as recently as 1999 when the Cardinal were No. 1 in the country. Hawaii's appearance will be its first in Hofheinz and the sixth-meeting between the two schools overall. The Cougars faced "the other UH" in Honolulu in 1997 and 1992. The teams met at neutral sites on the mainland three times in the mid 1970s.
"Obviously I am very excited about adding a match with Hawaii and to play them at home is even more special," Walton said. "We already had a fairly tough schedule but the RPI may take a real giant step up with this addition. I hope our fans will be excited about coming out for this match on October 3."
The Cougars open the 2001 season on Friday, August 31, against state rival Stephen F. Austin as part of action in the Rice Invitational at Autry Court. Houston will also face Samford, Texas A&M and host Rice in tournament play that weekend.