Fukuroku helps UH blank Nevada in WAC opener
Home-field cookin' continues to be the meal of choice for the Rainbow Wahine soccer team.
Hawaii won a school-record-tying sixth consecutive home game by knocking off Nevada 3-0 last night in the Western Athletic Conference opener for both teams at Waipio Peninsula Soccer Stadium.
Taryn Fukuroku scored two goals to give her a team-high seven for the season and Ambree Ako added her sixth goal of the year as the Rainbow Wahine (8-3-2, 1-0 WAC) defeated the Wolf Pack (4-6-1, 0-1) for the first time in their last three meetings.
The difference between Hawaii at home and on the road continues to be like night and day. Fresh off a two-game road trip in which Hawaii played "three bad halves" of soccer, according to coach Pinsoom Tenzing, the Rainbow Wahine rebounded by knocking off last year's postseason WAC champions in convincing fashion.
"We just beat the No. 1 team in the WAC and I thought we beat them quite impressively," Tenzing said.
Junior goalkeeper Kori Lu needed to make just one save to set a school record with her 11th career solo shutout.
Ako's goal in the 14th minute put the Rainbow Wahine up 1-0. The Wolf Pack defense couldn't clear the ball as it got loose in the box. Ako controlled it and deflected a shot off a Nevada defender past Wolf Pack goalkeeper Marie Cove for the score.
Fukuroku matched Ako's goal just 95 seconds later to give Hawaii a 2-0 advantage. The 5-foot-2 junior from Maui put home a rebound off a corner kick for the score. Nicole Mikula's corner was punched into the air by Cove, before Fukuroku one-timed it into the back of the net.
Hawaii continued to put the pressure on the Wolf Pack with corner kicks. Cove had to come up with an outstanding jumping save on a header by Tehane Higa off a corner from Ako that nearly made it a three-goal game.
Seconds later, after a turnover on Nevada's side of the field, Mikula got loose on the left side of the field and put up a shot that just edged right of the goal.
"Our defense picked it up big time," Fukuroku said. "By them just winning balls, it opened things up for our offense and gave us good looks."
Fukuroku put the game away with her second goal in the 83rd minute. Hawaii had won just two of its last six games after starting the season 5-0-1.
"We have been saving it for the WAC," Tenzing said.