Finally, Rainbow Wahine own WAC
The Western Athletic Conference tournament isn't the end of the road for the Rainbow Wahine soccer team.
Sophomore Emma Makepa-Foley scored on a header in the 59th minute to lead Hawaii to its first WAC tournament championship with a 1-0 victory over Fresno State yesterday in Boise, Idaho.
The Rainbow Wahine qualified for the NCAA tournament for the first time in school history with the victory.
"It was our ambition and our goal to win the WAC," Hawaii coach Pinsoom Tenzing said. "But we also want to go deep in the NCAA tournament."
Hawaii will find out its first-round opponent today when the full bracket is released at 3 p.m. The 64-team field will be announced on ESPN News.
Known for their high-scoring offense, the Rainbow Wahine won with their defense, as they did not allow a goal in the tournament.
The game was scoreless in the second half when freshman Nicole Mikula sent a free kick into the box that Makepa-Foley headed off the left goal post and into the net.
"Mikula hit me with a nice cross and I just finished it," Makepa-Foley said. "I was so stoked."
Hawaii (15-4-2) has not allowed a goal in its last five matches and closed out the season by winning eight of its last nine.
"We had a lot of injuries from the beginning of the season, but because of our depth we could compete," Tenzing said. "It was not the best game we played, but we played well enough to win."
The Bulldogs (13-7-1) out-shot Hawaii 15-9, but couldn't sneak one past goalkeepers Kori Lu and Nicole McClure, who combined for Hawaii's 12th shutout this season.
Tehane Higa, named WAC defensive player of the year earlier in the week, did not start and played limited minutes after suffering an injury in Friday's match against Utah State.
Freshman Chelsea Deptula, one of two Rainbow Wahine to start every match this season, was named the tournament MVP.
Forwards Ambree Ako and Taryn Fukuroku, and seniors Jessica Domingo and Koren Takeyama were also named to the all-tournament team.