Friday, August 26, 2005


Bohlman took creative
route to UH lineup

Occasionally, a player walks into a college coach's office unannounced and unknown and winds up being a prized recruit.

That happened when Gabina Bohlman popped in on Hawaii coach Pinsoom Tenzing.


George Mason at Hawaii

What: OHANA Hotels & Resorts No Ka Oi

When: Today, 7 p.m.

Where: Waipio Peninsula Soccer Stadium

Radio/TV: None

Admission/Parking: Free

Series record: First meeting

Notes: UH coach Pinsoom Tenzing is eight wins shy of 100 career victories. ... Senior goalkeeper Mahie Atay enters the season with 333 consecutive shutout minutes. ... In the second tournament match tomorrow, George Mason plays Brigham Young at 7 p.m. ... BYU won exhibition matches against Utah Valley State (3-0) and Dixie State (4-0) before traveling to Hawaii. ... George Mason is ranked 12th in the Mid-Atlantic region in Soccer Buzz magazine's preseason rankings.

She visited the campus, wanting to check out the UH programs in botany and ethnobotany (the study of how people of a particular culture and region make use of indigenous plants). None of the California schools she visited offered such a program.

At that time, Bohlman wasn't sure she even wanted to play NCAA Division I soccer.

"I was kind of losing my passion for the competitive side. I still liked soccer, but I was more interested in schools in terms of what I wanted to study," said Bohlman. "I didn't think I wanted the pressure of Division I soccer and put soccer way on the back burner. I didn't even realize Hawaii was a Division I team."

Well, UH offered courses in ethnobotany and, after all, Hawaii is Hawaii.

"This is a beautiful campus, a beautiful state. What better place is there to study plants," said Bohlman who is taking her first ethnobotany course this semester to test the waters in that area.

"I had pretty much decided I was coming to UH even if I didn't play soccer. The ultimate determining factor was I really felt at home here. It just feels like everyone is family here, and obviously the weather. I'm not a cold-weather person."

Tenzing's interest grew after several phone calls from Luis Quezada, Bohlman's club coach, and after the Wahine coach watched a tape of Bohlman in action.

Bohlman earned four varsity letters at Sir Francis Drake High School in San Anselmo, Calif., was all-league for three years and was the Marin County Athletic League's Player of the Year as a senior.

The striker started the first 17 matches for the Wahine a year ago before a late-season injury (lacerated liver) sidelined her for the final four matches. The true freshman scored three goals on 22 shots and assisted on four others.

"Gabina has deceptive speed and is very comfortable with the ball," said Tenzing. "She can handle the ball as well as anybody, but her strongest attribute is that Gabina is extremely coachable and a versatile player."

"I was surprised on how much playing time I did get. I felt I had worked hard for it, so it wasn't too much of a shock," said Bohlman. "The biggest thing was coming in fit. The coaches told me what to expect. We had seven fitness tests and I was scared out of my mind."

But, Bohlman was ready. Two weeks before reporting to fall practice with the Wahine, she spent two weeks in Mexico with her North Bay Magic team training three times a day and playing against local teams in Puerto Vallarta.

"That is what made the biggest difference," said Bohlman. "Soccer worked out better than I expected. I was happy with everything last year. It is definitely a faster game at the college level, but I had scrimmaged against college teams and women's teams before. So, I had some experience."

Tenzing's plan this year is to pair Bohlman with Jessica Domingo, the other true freshman to start last year, as the attacking center midfielders in the 4-4-2 formation.

"I like working with Jesse. We clicked really well last year when I dropped back," said Bohlman. "I will have to think more, a challenge for me."

Before each match, Bohlman likes to remind herself of little things, like taking on opponents with confidence, getting her shot off quickly, relaxing and playing her game and not getting wrapped up in the intensity of the moment and forcing things.

Eventually, she would like to live in a Spanish-speaking country. She is competent in that language but would like to become fluent.

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