Wahine soccer team tops Kansas in opener
Wahine soccer coach Pinsoom Tenzing knew what he was getting with his 17 returnees.
Rainbow Wahine Soccer
What: OHANA Hotels & Resorts No Ka Oi
When: Today through Monday
Where: Waipio Peninsula Soccer Stadium
» Hawaii 4, Kansas 0
» Kansas vs. Auburn, 7 p.m.
» Hawaii vs. Auburn, 7 p.m.
Now he knows he's got some pretty good freshmen, too.
Freshmen Chelsea Deptula and Mari Punzal, the reigning Star-Bulletin state player of the year, scored the first goals of their young careers to help Hawaii rout Kansas 4-0 last night in front of a crowd o 1,250 in the opening game of the OHANA Hotels No Ka Oi Tournament at Waipio Peninsula Soccer Stadium.
It's Hawaii's first win over a ranked team in 19 tries. Kansas, rated 26th in the Soccer Buzz preseason poll, had not lost a season opener since 1999. Hawaii improved to 5-7-2 all time in its opening games.
"The biggest justification I get from this is that all the kids on the bench got significant playing time," Tenzing said.
Ambree Ako put the Wahine on the board with their first goal of the season 4 minutes in. The sophomore intercepted a backward pass intended for goalie Colleen Quinn and dribbled past her before drilling it into the empty net.
Hawaii opened the second half just as it did the first. Tehane Higa took a pass from Taryn Fukuroku in the middle of the field and took a shot from outside the penalty box that deflected off a Jayhawks defender into the goal for a 2-0 lead at the 49-minute mark.
From that point on, it was the freshmen who took over. Punzal nearly scored off a header a minute later, just missing the goal by a few feet.
On a throw-in in the 58th minute, Punzal launched the ball to the goal, where Deptula controlled it amid a sea of blue jerseys and blasted a shot into the net to make it 3-0.
"Mari threw it and it got tipped and I just hit it in," Deptula said.
Punzal answered with her first goal in the 68th minute on a penalty kick to make it 4-0. Punzal, a Kamehameha graduate, and Deptula, a Punahou alumna, spent four years battling each other in the ILH.
Now they're enjoying their time together as teammates, despite both conceding to being nervous prior to the game.
"Of course there were butterflies," Deptula said. "It's good fun (playing with Punzal) because we kind of know what each other can do."
"This was big time," Punzal added. "Especially because it was at home and I knew my mom and dad were here."
The four goals were plenty of support for Hawaii goalkeeper Kori Lu, who combined with freshman Nicole McClure for the 18th shutout of her career.