JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARBULLETIN.COM
Hawaii's Chelsea Deptula, right, collided with Denver's Taryn Hemmings while going for the ball during first-half action of yesterday's soccer match. The Pioneers won 2-1.
Denver drops Rainbow Wahine to 0-2 for first time since ’96
Different day, same problem.
For the second time in as many games this season, the Rainbow Wahine soccer team let a second-half lead slip away.
This time, it was Denver pulling the late-game heroics, getting two goals from senior Taryn Hemmings to defeat Hawaii 2-1 yesterday in the final game of the OHANA Hotels & Resorts No Ka Oi tournament at Waipio Peninsula Soccer Stadium.
The Rainbows are 0-2 to start the season for the first time since 1996.
"I feel bad we played so poorly in front of such a huge crowd (1,183 non-paid attendance, according to the UH athletic department)," Hawaii coach Pinsoom Tenzing said. "Many times last year and the year before, when we lost, I was happy because we were playing good soccer.
"We're not playing good soccer and I am upset about that."
After a lackluster first half in which both teams combined for only one shot on goal, Hawaii exploded out of the break to score in just 17 seconds.
Senior Taryn Fukuroku took the ball down the middle and found Mari Punzal on her right, and she ripped a shot on goal. Pioneers goalkeeper Mackenzie Snyder made the tough save, but the ball deflected toward Ambree Ako, who hammered in the rebound for her second goal of the season.
Hawaii lost only once last season when leading in the second half. But as was the case in last week's match against Long Beach State, the Rainbow Wahine made crucial mistakes on defense to allow cheap goals.
"Our defensive organization is not up to snuff," Tenzing said. "We're not working like a team."
Hemmings' first goal tied the game in the 57th minute. Punahou alumnus Lizzy Carlson fed Hemmings a perfect pass that she controlled outside the box. She put one move on Tehane Higa and drilled the ball under Hawaii goalkeeper Kori Lu's outstretched arms to make it 1-1.
After Lu made a diving save on a shot by Hemmings to keep the game tied, the Pioneers took the lead a minute later. Hemmings intercepted a pass by the UH defense deep in Rainbow Wahine territory and found herself all alone against Lu, blasting a shot past the helpless goalkeeper for the go-ahead score in the 77th minute.
"It was just like the Long Beach game when we were up and then let them come back and win the game," Higa said. "We're all veterans. We all played with each other last year. We need to talk with each other and organize our line."
It's still early in the season, but the Rainbows play 11 of their final 16 games on the mainland, including the next four. Hawaii leaves tomorrow for the New Mexico Classic in Albuquerque before playing two games in the Pacific Fall Tournament in Stockton, Calif.
"We definitely have a lot to work on before our (WAC) season starts," Higa said. "We'll have to get back to practice and work on everything."