Wednesday, November 10, 1999
Outlook optimistic forBy Al Chase
The Hawaii women's soccer team enjoyed its third consecutive season of improvement in 1999.
It is natural for the expectations to be higher for 2000 following the winningest campaign (12-7-1) in Wahine history.
The outlook for next year is definitely positive, bolstered by the fact that 24 and maybe 25 of this year's squad is returning.
Seniors Wendy Miyashiro and Kammie Aguada have used up their eligibility. Junior middle defender Camille Kalama is still deciding whether to return or start law school next year.
And, for the first time in three seasons, the Wahine will NOT have to learn a new system.
"We still need a lot of work, but I'm really gratified with the way they picked up the system this season," Hawaii head coach Pinsoom Tenzing said.
The system, which uses the defense as a focal point, has gone from using a sweeper (1997), to four flat backs (1998) and finally to the three flat back alignment this season.
Defense was a major strength for the Wahine in 1999. All three of Hawaii's goalkeepers, led by Demarre Sanchez, who posted a Hawaii all-time best goals allowed average (0.96), return next year.
If Kalama leaves, Michelle Edwards or Mandy Yamamoto would be candidates to fill that spot.
"They both are equipped with all the tools," Tenzing said.
The top eight scorers will return, with the top five either freshmen or sophomores this year.
There are several who can move into the midfield for Aguada and Miyashiro. Replacing them is another question.
"One of the biggest pluses, without which we absolutely would not have been successful, was the leadership of Wendy Miyashiro," Tenzing said. "That's a plus I'll never be able to replace. You come across someone like Wendy Miyashiro once in a lifetime.
"We're in an enviable position where we can say we have a need and concentrate on filling it," he continued. "We used to look for any good player and convert them."
Aguada was the hub of the offensive wheel, charged with making quick decisions to accurately distributed the ball.
It won't be a big recruiting year because most of the scholarship money is being used, but the focus is on landing a striker that can convert half-chances into goals.
"We need that caliber of player," Tenzing said. "They are hard to find. Everybody needs them because goal scoring is the hardest thing to do, as you well know.
"We're one or two players away from competing for the biggest prize -- the NCAA title."
There is one lesson Tenzing hopes some of the Wahine learned this season, and it deals with off-season conditioning.
Tenzing labeled his 1998 team as his most conditioned ever and felt it would carry over this year. But it took time and cajoling, threats and sitting on the bench to get some players to accept the importance of conditioning.
"They never could have played the game they did against SMU (in the Western Athletic Conference tournament) if they hadn't improved their conditioning," Tenzing said.
"We want to play that type of game to open the season. It's the coach's responsibility once the season starts, but otherwise it's an individual thing," Tenzing said. "The kids must be absolutely sold on the fact they must be conditioned to compete when they come into preseason. Overall, I have no complaints about the season."
One thing that should change in 2000 is where the WAC coaches pick in their preseason poll the Wahine to finish in the standings. They had picked Hawaii to finish last this year.
Ka Leo O Hawaii