Wahine get big win over Gauchos
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After playing its last three games at Waipio Peninsula Soccer Stadium without a win, the Hawaii soccer team finally sent its fans home happy last night.
At Portland State on Friday
The Rainbow Wahine (3-3-2) got goals from Kristyn Shapka and Chelsea Deptula to beat No. 23 UC Santa Barbara 2-1.
The Gauchos are the highest-ranked team the Rainbow Wahine have ever beaten and coach Pinsoom Tenzing hopes it is a sign of things to come for his team.
A history-making win might be exactly what the Rainbow Wahine soccer team needs with conference play looming ahead.
Chelsea Deptula scored the game-winning goal in overtime and Hawaii ended its winless drought at home this season with a 2-1 victory over No. 23 UC Santa Barbara last night at Waipio Peninsula Soccer Stadium.
The Gauchos (6-3) are the highest-ranked team the Rainbow Wahine (3-3-2) have ever beaten, and they did it without Preseason Western Athletic Conference Player of the Year Tehane Higa, who injured her ankle on Thursday. They also pulled out the victory with a slew of players limited due to injuries, including forward Ambree Ako, who assisted on the game winner.
"This was huge for us not only to win, but to win against a team like this," Hawaii coach Pinsoom Tenzing said. "We were playing with our hands tied behind our backs. The trick for us was to take (the injured girls) out when we needed and still keep them healthy."
Ako, who is still recovering from a leg injury, was back on the field after missing the previous two games. With less than 2 minutes remaining in the first overtime period, she controlled the ball at midfield and passed it to Deptula, but seemed to have hit it too hard. UCSB goalkeeper Tammy Lenham looked like she'd beat Deptula to the ball, but the speedy sophomore won the battle. After deflecting a shot off the goalkeeper, Deptula beat a defender to the rebound and put it in the net to send Hawaii home happy.
"We really needed it to boost our confidence," Deptula said. "We needed a goal real bad and Ambree played the ball to me and I just, I don't know. Everything is a blur."
Kristyn Shapka gave the Rainbow Wahine a 1-0 lead with her second goal of the season in the 18th minute. The junior midfielder controlled the ball in the center of the field and weaved through two defenders before ripping a shot from 25 yards out over the head of Lenham for the score.
The Gauchos dominated the stat sheet in the first half, taking eight shots to Hawaii's two, and forced Rainbow Wahine goalkeeper Kori Lu to make four saves. Most of UCSB's shots were contested by the Hawaii defense until late in the half.
Gauchos forward Michelle Russell got loose behind the defense and found herself all alone against Lu. She was able to put a touch on a perfect pass into the box, but her kick sailed over the goal as Hawaii held on to its 1-0 lead.
"Without having Tehane in the back, it forces everybody to step up," Deptula said. "We've been working on our communication and just practice real hard and try to get better."
Lu continued to step up with big saves, finishing with seven for the game, but the Gauchos finally broke through for a goal by Kylie McDonald in the 79th minute.
The win snapped a three-game winless streak at home and gives the Rainbow Wahine a boost as they leave for their second road trip of the season. Hawaii plays nonconference games against Portland State, Washington and Cal State Fullerton before beginning league play Oct. 10 at Nevada.
"We're still hampered with injuries, but I promise you when we have the girls back at full strength, we will put on a show that will amaze our fans," Tenzing said.