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[ WAHINE SOCCER ]
UH faces Tulsa in
WAC Women's Soccer TournamentFirst-round games
When: Tomorrow, Texas-El Paso vs. Fresno State, 5 p.m.; Hawaii vs. Tulsa, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Waipio Peninsula Soccer Park Stadium
TV: UH match live, KFVE (Ch. 5).
Admission: Single-session, $8 adults, $4 UH students with a school ID, $3 youngsters age 5-18. All sessions, $20 adults, $10 UH students with a school ID, $8 youngsters age 5-18.
No. 2 Rice and No. 3 Texas-El Paso, both 5-2-1 in league play, moved ahead of the Rainbow Wahine (5-3-0) by avoiding upsets with two home wins. The Owls earned the first-round bye since they beat the Miners during the regular season.
Tulsa, the No. 5 seed and Hawaii's first-round opponent tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. at Waipio Peninsula Soccer Park Stadium, went 4-1-1 in its last six league matches to qualify. No. 6 seed Fresno State eased past Boise State by tying Tulsa last Saturday while the Broncos were unable to produce a win or a tie in matches at UTEP or SMU over the weekend.
"There was no way we could have made the No. 2 with the games that were being played at Rice and UTEP," UH coach Pinsoom Tenzing said. "I'm happy with the No. 4 seed, even though we meet SMU in the semifinal round if we get through the first round."
The Wahine (12-6-2) defeated the Golden Hurricane (7-9-3) 2-0 Oct. 3 on first-half goals by Natasha Kai and Pam Fong, but were frustrated by the Tulsa defense after intermission. The match featured midfield play as only 21 shots were taken in 90 minutes.
"Hawaii is a very strong team and Natasha Kai is an amazing player, so our defense is going to have to play very well," Tulsa coach Rena Richardson said.
She says the crowd will help Hawaii but doesn't think there is that much of a home-field advantage since the Wahine do not practice at the Waipio stadium.
The other first-round match tomorrow at Waipio has UTEP (12-4-1) playing the Bulldogs (5-8-4) in the opening match at 5 p.m. These teams played to a 0-0 double overtime tie at Fresno on Oct. 1. The winner plays Rice in the semifinal round.
Team rosters increase from 18 to 22 for the tournament. That can be a plus for a team that starts in the first round and makes it to Saturday's championship match.
Tenzing and Richardson pointed out that the match situation determines when and how many substitutes a coach will decide to use.
"The expanded roster does allow you to give your starters some rest and be better prepared if you make it to Saturday, but if you have to stay with your starting 11, it's tough," said Richardson.
"A big roster doesn't mean much if you are tied 0-0 in extra time. You have to get a lead to make good use of your bench," said Tenzing. "We have 13 or 14 kids who are interchangeable, but you are always worried about a player going into the game cold. Something terrible can happen. It's not because the person you put in is a bad player, but they are cold."
Southern Methodist is the three-time defending champion and the Mustangs have won four of the last five tournaments.
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