Friday, September 23, 2005


Lu a solid fit as Rainbow
Wahine starting ’keeper

Kori Lu was caught by surprise a couple of days before the Hawaii Rainbow Wahine opened their soccer season against George Mason.

Outrigger Hotels & Resorts Shootout

When: Today, Hawaii vs. Butler, 7 p.m.; Tomorrow, Butler vs. Robert Morris, 5 p.m.; Sunday, Hawaii vs. Robert Morris, 5 p.m.

Where: Waipio Peninsula Soccer Park Stadium

TV: Sunday's match live on KFVE (Channel 5).

The coaches informed the freshman from San Clemente, Calif., that she would be the starting goalkeeper.

Lu's first telephone call after practice was to her parents, Terry and Gene. Not only were they surprised and happy, they made quick arrangements to be here for the season-opening tournament.

Lu won the job over senior Mahie Atay, who also had claimed the starting berth as a freshman, but was coming off a junior season in which she suffered three concussions.

"Kori is extremely smooth at handling the back pass and taking goal kicks. She has the ability to come off the line and control the top of the box, control that area behind the defense. She is on speed with the college game," UH goalkeeper coach Josh Fouts said.

"Her shot-stopping is solid. Kori is very good at balls down low and continues to improve on grabbing balls near the post. Her punting still needs a little work. She should be getting the ball past midfield plus 10. Obviously, that is a weapon."

Lu has played soccer since she was 5 years old.

"My coach put me in the goal and I just stuck with it," said Lu, who was a three-year starter at Santa Margarita High School and led the team to three Serra League championships.

During the summer between her junior and senior years, UH coach Pinsoom Tenzing saw Lu play in the San Diego Surf Cup for her club, Laguna Eclipse, a team that won the Under-15 girls U.S. Youth Championship in 2002. Lu won the adidas Golden Glove award as the best goalkeeper in the tournament.

She considered attending Pt. Loma Nazarene in San Diego and was recruited by Pennsylvania and Ohio State.

"I went to junior orientation at Penn. It was a beautiful campus, but it was too cold," said Lu, who had visited Hawaii previously on vacation.

She made a recruiting trip to the Manoa campus a year ago and made a verbal commitment the day she left, then signed a national letter of intent last spring.

"Making the early commitment took a lot of stress away. I knew there were two senior (goalkeepers) here and that was part of my decision, but I knew they would be graduating soon," said Lu.

She watched the Wahine play a match, thought it was a great field they played on and feels she has a lot of options when it comes time to pick a major.

Lu trained on her own during the summer, having received information from the coaches regarding the fitness tests that open fall practice.

"I just trained my hardest. I knew I had to prove I was good enough to be out there. The preseason wasn't too bad. It was good training," said Lu.

She finds the college game more physical and faster paced.

"Your mind-set has to be faster," said Lu, who has no qualms about telling teammates to mark an opponent.

"We have to trust each other. I think we are reading each other better and playing together better," Lu said. "Hopefully, I'll learn from my mistakes in previous games and continue to improve."

Lu has a 1.57 goals-against average and has made 35 saves in seven matches.

"Anyone who gets scored upon for a living and has to bounce back is tenacious by nature," Fouts said. "Kori has a personality that is easy to work with."

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