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[ WAHINE SOCCER ]
Wahine off to Texas
The Hawaii Rainbow Wahine are in Texas this weekend for their first Western Athletic Conference road test
Hawaii (9-2-2 overall, 2-0-0 WAC) plays Southern Methodist (6-2-2, 1-0-1) tomorrow and Texas-El Paso (8-2-1, 1-0-1) on Sunday. Both opponents beat San Jose State and tied Fresno State in Northern California last weekend.
The Wahine have lost four consecutive matches in regular-season and postseason action at SMU and dropped both regular-season matches at UTEP, scoring just three goals in those six meetings.
Hawaii coach Pinsoom Tenzing says the key for the Wahine is to play aggressively on this trip.
"SMU has an extremely good team, but I think, for the first time, we match up with them really well," said Tenzing.
"We are well-conditioned and we have always been the underdog in the past. Although the Mustangs have played well against top teams, I think we can play with them because of our experience."
The Mustangs, picked to win the WAC in the coaches preseason poll, are ranked No. 21 in the latest NSCAA/adidas national poll and 25th in the Soccer Times poll. Hawaii moved up to No. 11 in the Soccer Buzz West Region poll and received votes in the NSCAA West Region poll.
With nine teams in the conference, Hawaii does not have another school as a travel partner. That means the Miners will be well-rested, not having played since last Sunday.
Neither Texas field is as wide as the UH home pitch at Waipio. That means the Wahine will have to make quick passes to make use of the open space available or dribble judiciously until defenders close in, creating open space.
Tenzing wants the creativity his players demonstrated last weekend to continue.
"We need to play really sharp soccer. That's what we have been working on. If we do, we will be OK. If not ..." said Tenzing.
"The SMU field has always been in good shape. UTEP has an awful field. I don't know if they have changed that. They haven't for years, but I hope they have."
The UH midfielders, Joelle Sugai on the left, Jessica Domingo and Seline Williams in the center and either Gabrielle Bohlman or Kelly McCloskey on the right, will have to continue the excellent linking they provided last weekend between defenders and strikers.
Notes: Sophomore striker Krisha Kai, nursing a strained left knee, will not make the trip. ... Six of Natasha Kai's eight goals this year have been game-winners. ... Kai has a page on the Hawaii Web site (www.hawaiiathletics.com). Click on women's soccer.
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