And despite not winning the Big West Conference tournament, the Rainbow Warriors were given the tournament’s top overall seed, earning an automatic bid to the national semifinals, which begins on May 6.
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The ‘Bows lost for the first time in the 2021 season after a five-set semifinal defeat at the hands of UC San Diego on Friday, dropping to 15-1 heading into Selection Sunday.
Hawaii suddenly found itself vying for one of the two at-large bids in the seven-team NCAA Tournament. UC Santa Barbara ended up winning the Big West Tournament with a four-set win over the Tritons on Saturday, helping UH’s cause since the Gauchos were ranked third nationally heading into the Big West Tournament.
Pepperdine of the MPSF earned the other at-large bid, with UCSB, BYU, Lewis, Penn State, Belmont Abbey and Hawaii rounding out the rest of the field. UH will await the winner of the quarterfinal matchup between UCSB and Pepperdine, which takes place on May 4.
The last time they played in the NCAA Tournament, the Rainbow Warriors fell to Long Beach State in four sets in the 2019 National Championship Game at the Walter Pyramid. A tournament was not held in 2020 due to the onset of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.