Kai’s story written in UH’s record book
Mahie Atay, Ashley Chaffin, Natalie Groenewoud, Natasha Kai and Emily Rose will be recognized after today's match for their efforts and contributions to the Hawaii Rainbow Wahine soccer team.
Fresno State at Hawaii
When: Today, 5 p.m.
Where: Waipio Peninsula Soccer Park Stadium
TV: Live on KFVE (Channel 5).
The five seniors are on track to obtain their undergraduate degrees by December 2006, with three planning on attending graduate school.
Of the group, Kai is the one whose name is all over the UH and Western Athletic Conference record books in every offensive category. Her career résumé and list of accomplishments takes two full pages in the Wahine media guide.
"Natasha is the best, most productive player we've had in our history," UH head coach Pinsoom Tenzing said.
The striker from Kahuku holds 19 Hawaii records, three WAC single-season records, one WAC career record (shots taken) and will finish second in goals scored and points.
Her best statistical season was as a sophomore in 2003 when she scored 29 goals, seven of them game-winners, scored in nine consecutive matches and amassed 62 points, all UH single-season records.
Kai has been a WAC first-team member every year, was the WAC Freshman of the Year in 2002 and WAC Player of the Year in 2002 and 2003. She has earned WAC Player of the Week honors 10 times.
"I have a lot of good memories, all the good times we've had," said Kai, who is a sociology major.
She will graduate next December and wants to work with children.
Atay will leave with some marks of her own, including the best goals-against average (1.07) and most wins (24) of any goalkeeper in the history of the program. The Baldwin graduate is second in solo shutouts (nine) and minutes played (3,981:45).
She probably would be atop all the goalie career lists had it not been for an injury-filled (three concussions) junior season.
"It's been long coming off the injuries. There were some people who told me to consider not playing any more, but I wanted to play," said Atay.
Not in top shape when fall practice started, Atay lost the starting job to freshman Kori Lu, but the pair have shared six shutouts.
"It is difficult when you have been the starter, but it's the coach's choice," said Atay, who will earn her degree in Hawaiian Studies next fall.
She plans to continue in that discipline in graduate school and eventually teach.
"Mahie has been a really good servant of the program since her freshman year. We will miss her," Tenzing said.
Chaffin, a senior defender from Elk Grove, Calif., has appeared in 13 matches during her four seasons with the team. Her most active campaign was as a sophomore when she started twice in eight matches.
"Ashley never said boo about her playing time. She and Emily (Rose) are very positive, don't complain about anything and are thankful for what they have. They are the exception to the rule," Tenzing said.
Chaffin is a Spanish major who plans to attend medical school and study pediatric orthopedics.
"It won't hit me that my career is over until it is 4 p.m. and I'm not at practice. Soccer has been a huge part of my life for as long as I can remember."
She has no regrets about choosing Hawaii despite her limited playing time.
"It was the best decision I made to come out here. I love Hawaii," said Chaffin, who has been a UH scholar/athlete every year on campus.
Groenewoud will tie Joelle Sugai and Liz Lusk for most career matches played (81) in today's contest against Fresno State. She will be the sole owner of the record with her first appearance in the postseason.
"What I'll remember most is playing out at that beautiful stadium with great friends, wonderful girls," said Groenewoud who comes from North Vancouver, British Columbia.
The outside right midfielder has scored six goals and assisted on eight in five seasons. She redshirted last year after suffering an ankle injury in the second match.
"It was a disappointment last year. There were 12 seniors and I came in with a bunch of them, but everything worked out OK," said Groenewoud, who graduates next month.
She is a biology major with a minor in botany. Her plan has her returning home and studying natural pathic medicine for the next four years.
"Natalie is a wonderful human being. We'll miss her for the amount of work she puts in. We changed the way we played this year and she hasn't been as effective as in the past, playing inside with a crown around her," Tenzing said.
"I'm here to do a job whether it is on the field or on the bench cheering on my teammates. Obviously the goal is to play, but that doesn't always happen," said Rose, a defender who has appeared in 17 matches since transferring from Santa Rosa Junior College for the 2004 season.
"The Hawaii experience has been very good. The people I've interacted with have been great and that makes all the difference."
Rose is a meteorology major and will graduate next fall. She plans to study severe storms and chase tornados and probably will live in the Midwest.
"Emily is the ultimate student-athlete. She travels with us and I don't know how she does it. Other than slipping up once in a while with an A-minus, she is a straight A student. I feel bad because she has a lot of family and friends at games and I haven't given her much playing time," said Tenzing.