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The Minnesota volleyball team will open up the 2003 season at the Hawaiian Airlines Tournament, in a tournament that will feature four top 25 teams. The second-ranked Rainbow Wahine is one of only four teams in the nation to have played this season. Hawai'i opened up the 2003 women's volleyball season by hosting the State Farm Women's Volleyball Classic last weekend. Hawai'i comes into the week with a 1-1 record, after defeating No. 15 Kansas State in three games in the State Farm Volleyball Classic and falling to No. 1 USC in three games in the championship match of the tournament. No. 6 Minnesota will open up its season against No. 2 Hawai'i on Friday, Aug. 29 at 7 p.m. (HT). The Golden Gophers will also take on No. 22 Louisville on Saturday, Aug. 30 at 1 p.m. (HT) and No. 13 UCLA on Sunday, Aug. 31 at 3 p.m. (HT). This will be Minnesota's fourth appearance in the Hawaiian Airlines Tournament, the second under head coach Mike Hebert. The Golden Gophers last competed in the tournament in 1999, going 1-2 with a win over Pittsburgh and losses to UCLA and Hawai'i. Minnesota went 0-3 in 1995 falling to UCLA, Hawai'i and Texas. The Golden Gophers were also 0-3 in 1991 as they fell to UCLA, Hawai'i and Georgia.
Minnesota has won eight of its last 12 regular season tournaments. The Golden Gophers finished first three times in 2002 at the Denver Tournament, Florida Atlantic Classic and Nike Invitational. They also finished second at the Diet Coke Classic and the State Farm Women's Volleyball Classic. No. 4 Stanford has been responsible for denying them them in both the Jefferson Cup in 2001 and the State Farm Women's Volleyball Classic in 2002. In the past 12 tournaments, Minnesota is 33-4 with its only two losses, besides the two to Stanford, coming against San Diego in the San Diego Invitational in 2001 and Northern Iowa in the Diet Coke Classic in 2002. Dating back to 2001, Minnesota is 12-1 in its last 13 away matches in regular season tournament play.
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