A Big Day Coming In Island Sports

Bob Hogue
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Wednesday - November 03, 2010
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This Saturday might turn out to be one of the most significant dates in Hawaii sports history.

That’s the day the resurgent University of Hawaii football team heads to Boise State for a nationally televised contest (ESPNU) on the infamous Smurf Turf. An upset win by the Warriors would not only vault Hawaii into first place in the WAC, but also would be one of the biggest victories in school history.

Consider how tough the task will be: In the four times UH has played at Boise since the Broncos joined the WAC, the Warriors have been outscored by a total of 195-85. That’s an average score of 49-21. Perhaps Hawaii fans should-n’t feel too badly about this -

Boise has the nation’s highest home-field winning percentage and they lose at home less often than once in a blue moon.

But a Hawaii win is not impossible. The highest-ranked team UH ever beat was fourth-ranked BYU, and in that game the Warriors scored 72 points! It might take that type of incredible effort by Bryant Moniz and company to turn the Boise fans blue this time around.

* Saturday also marks the start of Hawaii’s basketball season. Gib Arnold’s new-look team hits the court that evening at the Stan Sheriff against rival Chaminade in an exhibition game, the Silverswords making the trek up Dole Street.

There’s a touch of irony in the matchup, as Chaminade is led by 7-foot junior transfer Mamadou Diarra of Mali. Mamadou was originally recruited by Arnold when he was an assistant at USC, and he played his first ball for the Trojans before transferring to Honolulu, where he sat out last year under NCAA transfer rules.

Chaminade isn’t the only PacWest team to face Arnold’s Hawaii team this year: They’ll take on HPU Dec. 11 in a regular season contest.

* And Saturday is the date of the PacWest Men’s and Women’s Cross Country Championships. The race will be run near the shoreline of picturesque Turtle Bay Resort - perhaps the most beautiful cross country course in the world.

Defending conference champion BYU-Hawaii will battle it out on the women’s side against rival HPU and seven other PacWest schools. HPU is led by Frida Aspnaes of Sweden, who has earned a remarkable six PacWest Runner of the Week honors this year during an unbeaten season.

Academy of Art is the men’s favorite, with defending champion Amos Maru of Kenya leading the way for the Urban Knights. BYU-Hawaii, HPU, Grand Canyon, UH-Hilo and others are expected to give chase and hope for a team upset.

* By the end of the weekend, BYU-Hawaii will find out if it is selected as the host team for next week’s NCAA women’s soccer west regionals. The Seasiders clinched the PacWest title and an automatic berth in the tournament by virtue of an incredible season.

Led by former conference Player of the Year Natasha Aiono and rookie goalie Megan McCain, the Seasiders ran off an amazing 11 shutouts in their first 14 matches. Keep your fingers crossed that they get the host bid - and perhaps an eventual shot at the nationals.

* Bottom line: Circle Nov. 6 on your home calendar. It could turn out to be a date you remember for a long time!

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