This month we traveled to the shores of the most beautiful island on Earth to discuss a water polo team that is poised to make a return trip to NCAAs. Hawaii is currently ranked sixth in the country and will be a favorite in the upcoming Big West tournament.
The Rainbow Wahine are led by Maureen Cole. Cole was named Head Coach in April 2011 and was an Assistant Coach at Hawaii the five seasons prior to then. The Hawaiian native attended UCLA where she was a part of three NCAA Championship teams. We sat down to discuss her squad and below is our interview.
The Big West has been my favorite conference to follow this season as there is no clear favorite. The conference tournament should be very exciting as it feels like every team in the conference can win a game against a conference opponent on any given day. What does Hawaii need to do to win the Big West and advance to NCAAs?
To win the Big West we need to peak the weekend of the Big West and play three solid games in a row. Any team could win on any given day so we need to come out ready to play and be consistent from game one to game three. It's too competitive in the Big West to expect to come out with a win if we aren't playing the best water polo we've played all year that weekend
My grandparents lived in Hawaii for all of my life and I have always felt like Hawaii can be a giant on the women's side (and could be on the men's side if they had a varsity team). Between the location, the water polo talent/history on the islands and the Duke Kahanamoku Center your program has the tools. Can you tell the people reading this on the mainland about the University of Hawaii and why it is a great choice to continue their water polo careers?
Hawaii is great choice because being a Wahine is more than just living in one of the most beautiful places on earth. You can get a great education at the University of Hawaii and have all of the academic and athletic support you need to be the best. One thing that might concern high schoolers on the mainland is that Hawaii is too far from home, but because so many team members are far from home the team is truly a family and I love that about this group of girls.
Monika Eggens plays internationally for Canada and has been incredible her entire career. What makes her the outstanding player she is?
Momo has gotten where she is because of her hard work and dedication (and being 6'2" helps)! She loves the sport of water polo and is always the first one in and the last one to leave. She doesn't take her talent for granted and works at it and I admire her for that. She also is extremely competitive and is willing to do anything to take the Wahine to the top.
Paula Chillida Esforzado is off to a fantastic start to her college career. What makes her the great player that she is?
Paula sees the game very well. She is a versatile player and we use her everywhere. She can defend, post up, she's a great passer, and she can shoot. She also brings with her championship experience having been a part of the Spanish Junior Team that won in Trieste.
Amarens is a true student of the game. She has tremendous focus and is incredibly strong for her size. She knows how to finish from 2 meters and has a great understanding of space on the 6x5.
Amarens Genee has been a very productive player for her entire career. What has made her the tremendous contributor that she is?
It is no secret that I think the Big West is the most exciting conference on the women's side this season. I do not see that stopping in the near future as all of these teams feature strong players with plenty of time left on the college level to make their mark. The Big West conference tournament will be appointment viewing and Hawaii will play a prominent role. I will not be surprised if the Rainbow Wahine win their way back to NCAAs.