RAINBOW WAHINE SOCCER
Rainbow Wahine need to find some offense
The Hawaii Rainbow Wahine soccer team faces an uphill climb in order to advance past the first round in the Western Athletic Conference postseason tournament.
The Hawaii offense has hit a dry spell on the current road trip. The Wahine have taken just four shots in each of their last two matches and have not scored in the last 203 minutes.
To further complicate the task, Hawaii plays host Nevada (11-4-3) in a first-round match tomorrow. The Wolf Pack dominated UH 5-0 seven days ago in a regular-season meeting.
And, the Wahine (8-10-2) have been bounced from the tournament in the first round the last four years after reaching the championship match in 2001. They are 2-5-1 overall in six tourney appearances.
The good news is two of the three starting defenders who missed the first two road matches, Shawn Higa and Kelly McCloskey, have rejoined the team.
"We will be a better team. Shawn and Kelly will certainly make a difference. They have defensive savvy," said UH coach Pinsoom Tenzing.
McCloskey has not played since Oct. 1 due to an injury to her right knee. Tenzing will assess her physical conditioning in today's workout.
Center midfielder Jessica Domingo (headaches) and striker Ambree Ako (sprained right ankle) are cleared to play. They are key players who move the ball efficiently in the UH pass-orientated offense.
"Ambree will have to give us a lot of minutes," Tenzing said.
"I think Nevada employed tactics last week that won't work all the time. They will come out hard on a (artificial) turf they know. We won't be throwing someone in on defense who hasn't played that position before.
"We've been waiting for this moment all year long, so we'll see what happens."
Taryn Fukuroku and Kelli-Anne Chang have scored eight goals apiece and Ako has five to account for 21 of the 25 UH scores this season.
The Wahine, who allowed just three goals in their first nine matches, have been scored upon 24 times in the last 11 matches.
The UH-Nevada winner plays Utah State in a Friday semifinal.
The other first-round match tomorrow has Boise State playing San Jose State. The winner meets regular-season champion Fresno State on Friday.