RAINBOW WAHINE SOCCER
McCloskey's goal upends Titans
Kelly McCloskey scored early in the second half and Hawaii made the senior defender's first goal of the season stand up for a 2-1 win over the Detroit Mercy Titans at the Waipio Peninsula Soccer Park stadium.
Hawaii's sixth victory came in the opening match of the Ohana Hotels & Resorts Invitational before 382 onlookers.
The Wahine took advantage of a pushing foul to break a 1-1 halftime tie at 46:04.
McCloskey took the direct free kick from near the right sideline and it bounced right into the goal much to everyone's surprise. It was not a planned shot on goal, supposedly just a feed into the middle.
Tehane Higa should be credited with a phantom assist on the play.
As Titans' goalkeeper Katie Fortenberry moved off the goal line to field the ball, Higa arrived in the area.
"Yesterday we worked on framing the goal, being in position in case there is a rebound," said Higa.
CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARBULLETIN.COM
Ambree Ako of Hawaii dribbled in front of Jenny Whaley of Detroit Mercy last night. The Rainbow Wahine won 2-1.
McCloskey, surprised that her ball went in, said, "Tehane definitely distracted everybody. Her body blocked the view of the goalkeeper, otherwise it wouldn't have gone in."
The game matched teams with similar styles, each working the short-passing game, moving the ball from side to side and making use of players overlapping from the back.
Despite the halftime tie, UH coach Pinsoom Tenzing had several points to make in his intermission speech.
"I thought we played badly in the first half. Our back line was completely disorganized. They were all over the place, not moving up and down the field together. And, we lacked energy. I don't know where they dug down but we were much better in the second half."
The Titans' (2-5) first rush into UH (6-2-2) territory down the left side produced a shot by Andrea DiPace that Wahine goalkeeper Kori Lu blocked with a diving save and two close follow-up shots that UH defenders cleared.
The Wahine counterattack had Kelli-Anne Chang sending Ambree Ako into the clear 4:27 into the match, but her shot from the right was just wide of the left post.
Hawaii broke the ice at 9:53 when junior defender Koren Takeyama won a loose-ball battle 40 yards out, dribbled once, then fed a through ball to Taryn Fukuroku. The sophomore striker one-touched the ball past on-rushing Titan goalkeeper Katie Fortenberry.
Detroit Mercy tied the score at 15:24 when Mary Parker lofted a ball over the UH defense and Megan Canty rifled a shot into the left corner from 10 yards out on the right side.
"She (Canty) should have been offsides if we were playing four flat backs, but one of our defenders dropped back and put her onsides," said Tenzing.
It was the first time UH surrendered a goal in the first 45 minutes this season.
The Titans had four good chances toward the end of the half. Parker got behind the UH defense off a throw-in and Lu had to make a diving stuff just before the 18-yard line.
The ball rattled around the box and was eventually cleared over the end line for a Detroit Mercy corner kick after three shot attempts were blocked.
Jenny Whaley placed her kick into the middle and DiPace got a head shot off from 7 yards out that went over the crossbar.
The Titans outshot the Wahine 9-8 (4-3 shots on goal), with Lu making one save and the team being credited with two.
After UH scored, with the teams using the offsides tactic, the next 30 minutes then settled into a back-and-forth battle between the penalty boxes.
The next sound opportunity for the Wahine came on Chang's direct free kick from 22 yards out that was inches high of the crossbar. Jessica Domingo followed with a low shot 40 seconds later that Fortenberry stopped with a diving save.
DiPace almost tied the score with 5 minutes to go, but her long shot from the left sideline hit the crossbar and was cleared.
The invitational continues tomorrow with Detroit Mercy playing Cal State Northridge (4-4) at 7 p.m. The final match is Monday when UH meets CS Northridge at 5 p.m.