Wahine get more action before WAC opener
Hawaii will play a pair of nonconference matches before visiting Idaho
The Hawaii soccer team's final preparation for Western Athletic Conference competition includes two matches in Southern California against tough nonconference opponents.
The Rainbow Wahine (6-3-2) play the San Diego Toreros today and Loyola Marymount on Tuesday, then open WAC play at Idaho on Friday.
"This will be a terrific test. Both (nonconference) teams are on the upswing and doing exceedingly well." said UH coach Pinsoom Tenzing.
"My concerns are making sure we do well as far as the conference matches are concerned. I have to decide whether or not to rest some of our players for the conference matches or do I go whole hog in the California matches?"
The Toreros (7-4), of the West Coast Conference, have rebounded from a 6-12-1 season a year ago.
They shut out Arizona State 1-0 last Sunday but lost to No. 5 UCLA yesterday 3-0.
Senior midfielder Veronica Ambort is the team's leading scorer with four goals, including three match-winners.
The Lions (6-1-2 overall, 5-1 at home) upset No. 16 Southern California 2-1 last Sunday and moved into the Soccer America Top 25 Poll in the 23rd spot.
LMU does not score a lot of goals, just 15 in nine matches, but the Lions' defense has held opponents to only seven goals. Their lone loss was 1-0 at Michigan.
Jamie Bell is the leading scorer with three goals. Four other players have two goals apiece.
On Thursday, freshman striker Katrina Chong (Hilo '06) scored twice in the Lions' 3-0 win over UC Riverside. They were her first goals of the season. The first came on a breakaway at 25:10 and the second at 73:32 off a through ball.
Chong has come off the bench in all eight matches, taken seven shots and put six on goal.
The Wahine are back at full strength with the return of junior defender Shawn Higa. Her return against Cal State Fullerton last Monday allowed Tenzing to move junior defender Koren Takeyama up front.
Takeyama made three good runs up the left flank, beating her defender each time, but put the ball right to the goalkeeper each time.
"I told Koren at halftime to pull the ball back away from the goalkeeper, but she didn't get clear once in the second half," Tenzing said.
"We need Koren's speed in the back and up front. It will be a game-time decision."
Tenzing said Higa is very close to being 100 percent after having arthroscopic surgery on her right knee this month.
"Shawn needs to feel she is 100 percent to perform at 100 percent," Tenzing said.
Notes: UH won its only match with San Diego, defeating the Toreros 1-0 on Sept. 20, 1998. ... The Lions lead the UH series 3-2-1. The Wahine won the last match 2-1 in overtime at LMU on Sept. 5, 2004.