Colorado ends UH’s soccer dream
STORY SUMMARY »
Losing to Colorado 2-0 yesterday wasn't how the University of Hawaii soccer team wanted its first trip to the NCAA tournament to end.
But qualifying for the College Cup was quite an accomplishment, according to head coach Pinsoom Tenzing.
"It's remarkable what they've done," Tenzing said of a team that battled through injuries all year.
Unfortunately for the Rainbow Wahine, the Buffaloes had too much going for them to allow the Western Athletic Conference champions to beat them on their home field -- Michaela DeJesus saw to that.
She assisted on both goals, first to Gianna DeSeverio in the 11th minute as she headed in a corner kick. Later, she found Mel Hicks streaking up field for a goal in the 61st minute as Colorado advanced to the next round.
FULL STORY »
After many milestones and the best season in school history, the Hawaii women's soccer team couldn't pull off a victory yesterday in its first NCAA tournament appearance.
Regional host Colorado scored once in each half to oust the Rainbow Wahine from the College Cup, 2-0, at Prentup Field in Boulder, Colo.
The storybook year for Hawaii (15-5-2), in which the team picked up its third regular-season Western Athletic Conference title and first WAC tournament championship, came to an end at the hands of the 10-7-4 Buffaloes.
Coach Pinsoom Tenzing thought the extensive time away for his team -- they left for the WAC tournament in Boise, Idaho, two weeks ago and remained on the mainland since -- led to fatigue after halftime.
"In the second half they played better than us, and that's why they won the game," he said. "It's been too long. I think the kids were a little tired."
Colorado, the seventh-place team in the Big 12, outshot Hawaii just 10-9, but the visitors couldn't capitalize on several opportunities in the 30th minute. Taryn Fukuroku had a couple of shots ricochet off the Buffaloes' goalkeeper and goalpost, and Alexis Choi's follow sailed overhead.
Hawaii had several factors to battle, including the host team, altitude, cold weather and a morning kickoff time. UH never played a morning game all year, but team captain Jessica Domingo left it at "Colorado played really well, so they deserved to beat us.
"We can blame the time, or the field, or the weather all we want, but we just didn't show up to play today," the senior midfielder said. "I think in the future, when we find ourselves in this position again we'll be much better prepared."
Hawaii had great success at home all year, going 11-0-1. But the Wahine struggled with their nonconference road matches, finishing 0-4-1. UH's five-match winning streak was snapped as the Rainbow Wahine were shut out for just the third time all year.
The Buffaloes' Michaela DeJesus assisted on both Colorado goals, first in the 11th minute with a quick touch off a corner kick to Gianna DeSeverio in the penalty box. DeSeverio headed the ball in to score the first goal against UH in its last six games.
Later, DeJesus hit a streaking Mel Hicks upfield in the 61st minute. Hawaii attempted to get an offside call against the Buffs (they were called for it 13 times), but there was no whistle and Hicks ripped a shot past Nicole McClure to the right side of the net.
Tehane Higa, the WAC defensive player of the year, was dealing with a sprained ankle going back to the WAC tournament and was part of "a hobbled back line," Tenzing said.
"We started off with injuries, and it dogged us all season long," he said. "But they've continued playing hard, and I have nothing but admiration for them. It's remarkable what they've done."
Hawaii notched records in wins (15), shutouts (12) and goals (59), on its way to breaking more than 30 school marks over the season.
"I'm really proud of all we've accomplished this year," Domingo said.