Rainbow Wahine come home early
Hawaii comes up a goal short at the WAC tournament in Boise
BOISE, Idaho » One and out.
That has become an all too familiar scenario plaguing the University of Hawaii soccer team in postseason action.
For The Record
Hawaii's performance, since the program's inception in 1994
Composite record: 2-6 (.250)
Goals for/against: 13-14
Best finish: runnerup, 2001
Winning seasons: 5
Record: 101-109-18 (.482)
WAC record: 35-30-3 (.537)
History repeated for the fourth consecutive season yesterday as the Rainbow Wahine failed to win their first match in the Western Athletic Conference tournament.
Seeded No. 1 for the first time, the Wahine were upset by fifth-seeded Fresno State 2-1. Hawaii has not advanced past its first match since 2001 when UH played in its only championship match.
"I'm very disappointed. The other team just beat us fair and square," Hawaii coach Pinsoom Tenzing said.
The Bulldogs (9-9-2) took a 1-0 halftime lead on the first of two goals by sophomore Antonea Lugo. She received a pass from Nicole Gutierrez and sent a 25-yard chip shot over UH goalkeeper Mahie Atay at 28:58.
Atay, a senior from Baldwin, got the start in place of freshman and All-WAC second-team member Kori Lu, who was ill.
"Mahie was the man of the game, so to speak. She kept us in the game in the first half," said Tenzing.
The Wahine (9-9-2) held a 10-8 shot advantage in the opening half, but were stymied by the four-back, flat-back Fresno State defense.
Natasha Kai, a senior striker who put six of her eight shots on goal, tied the score at 57:44 off an assist from junior striker Adria Campbell. Kai finished her career with 72 goals.
It was Campbell's 10th assist of the season, a UH record.
The tie and momentum shift to Hawaii did not last for long.
Lugo received a pass from freshman winger Alison Sill inside the box in a crowd of players, turned and scored the game-winner at 68:58.
"In the second half, we dominated, but we didn't follow the game plan. We wanted to go around the defense rather than over it like we did in Honolulu (last Sunday), but we just didn't manage to do it," Tenzing said.
"It should have been on everyone's mind, but we just kept sending hopeful balls down the middle. I thought I had told them how to win the game, but they just didn't execute. It's tough when you are trying to do something on the fly."
The lack of execution played right into the Bulldogs' defensive plan. They kept their back line deep so there was no drop zone for the Wahine to lob passes into.
The Wahine finished with a 17-14 shot advantage, but FSU goalkeeper Angie Larsen made a career-best nine saves.
Fresno State advances to the WAC title showdown for the first time since 1999.
The Bulldogs play second-seeded San Jose State today for the crown and the league's automatic berth into the NCAA tournament.
The Spartans (6-11-3) blanked third-seeded Nevada (11-7-2) 2-0 yesterday on second-half goals by Karin Karlsson and Kristin Krale.