Rainbow Wahine vs Nebraska – NCAA Sweet 16 preview


Jolie Rasmussen

The first serve of the NCAA Tournament Regional Semifinal round is on Friday. The University of Hawaii will face off with Nebraska at 11:30am Hawaii time.

On Thursday, for the first time since arriving in Madison, the Rainbow Wahine were able to test the terrain and practice at the UW fieldhouse. UH is preparing for a big, strong, and athletic Nebraska team that finished 2018 as the NCAA tournament runner-up.

Don’t expect the ‘Bows to be intimidated by the size of the Cornhuskers because they spent the entire season building confidence in serving, passing, defense, and cohesion. The later is something that is quite remarkable, given that this team started the beginning of the season with nine first time Rainbows on the roster.

“During double-days, we already knew there was such a good chemistry throughout the team,” said freshman middle hitter Amber Igiede. “As we played and played through the months, we gelled more and more together. I think that it’s going to be a mental game for us.”

“I’ve always been so far from home my whole life and to come here and be so welcomed and feel the support from everyone who I never met before…” said freshman outside hitter Hanna Hellvig. “But they just love the team and they love all of us, and yeah it’s amazing.”

“Playing for this University, you’re playing for something far more than just a school,” said senior setter-outside hitter Norene Iosia. “I mean, the whole state of Hawaii is behind us. Just being so far, just means a little more, traveling. I don’t even know. We’re in the snow. We don’t deal with the cold. So going through this whole journey in a different setting. It just hits us a different way.”

Expect the Rainbow Wahine to be about as healthy as they’ve been since the start of the season. They got Jolie Rasmussen back who missed 20 matches due to an ankle injury. She played in three sets in last weeks sub-regional championship victories at the Stan Sheriff Center.

The Rainbow Wahine and the Huskers is set for tomorrow at 11:30 in the morning, Hawaii time. You can catch it streaming on ESPN3 or the ESPN app.

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