Wahine start newBy Al Chase
When the University of Hawaii women's soccer team takes the field tonight at 7 against St. Mary's (Calif.) in the second match of the Outrigger Hotels Wahine Festival at Ala Wai Field, one difference from last season will be UH's physical fitness.
Head coach Pinsoom Tenzing is happy with that aspect of the Wahine program and part of the reason is the newcomers from the mainland.
"I thought we showed as well as we could last year," Tenzing said. "The decision was made to keep the program essentially Hawaiian. We had one player from the outside, but the rest were going to the University.
"That's not going to work in Division I and that's changed. You've got to have kids from the mainland. They bring something to the program -- a work ethic that's not usually found here because of the level of competition -- and talent -- and they came physically fit."
Mainland freshmen joining the Wahine are midfielder Jennifer Hamm and goalkeeper Demarre Sanchez from Albuquerque, N.M., forward Dawn Dasher from Lakeside, Calif., and midfielder Megan Lytle and defender Melissa Philbrook, both from Sutton, Mass.
Tenzing also expects a lot from four seniors -- sweeper Denise Tsukata from Mid-Pacific Institute, striker Lara Anzai from Pearl City High School, midfielder Poliala Paressa from Kamehameha and midfielder Melissa Moore from Honolulu.
Putting the ball in the net was a problem for UH last year. Tenzing acknowledges there was a need for a finisher -- that player who can take a shot from 30-35 yards out and hit the back of the net.
The Wahine offense was limited to work inside the 18-yard line necessitating a skillful short-passing game that proved difficult with just two strikers.
Tenzing looks for more help on the attack from his midfielders and that would be possible with better-conditioned players.
This year's schedule has been toned down slightly. There's no No. 5 Stanford or No. 8 Maryland to play. But three weekend tournaments in September sandwiched around a three-match trip against nonconference opponents in the Los Angeles area should prepare the Wahine for the Western Athletic Conference portion of the schedule in October.
In today's opener of the Outrigger Hotels Wahine Festival, Cal State Sacramento plays Auburn at 5 p.m. The Festival continues Sunday with St. Mary's playing Auburn at 5 p.m. and Cal State Sacramento meeting of Hawaii at 7.
Auburn meets the Wahine in the finale at 7 p.m. Monday.
PRESEASON POLL: Brigham Young and Southern Methodist have been picked to win the WAC Pacific and Mountain division titles, respectively, in the preseason coaches' poll.
The Cougars got 12 first-place votes and San Diego State one in the Pacific Division. SMU also picked up 12 first-place votes, with one going to New Mexico.
1997 Wahine Soccer ScheduleHome matches start at 7 p.m. at Ala Wai Field unless noted.
Aug. 29: vs. St. Mary's (Calif.).
Aug. 31: vs. Cal State Sacramento.
Sept. 1: vs. Auburn.
Sept. 6: vs. Alumnae, 10 a.m., UH Soccer Field.
Sept. 12: vs. Pacific (Calif.).
Sept. 14: vs. Texas Christian.
Sept. 17: at Cal State Fullerton.
Sept. 19: at Cal State Northridge.
Sept. 21: at Loyola Marymount.
Sept. 25: vs. Colorado College.
Sept. 25: vs. Pepperdine.
Oct. 3: at UC Santa Barbara.
Oct. 5: at Cal State Dominquez Hills.
Oct. 9: vs. Utah (WAC).
Oct. 11: vs. Brigham Young (WAC).
Oct. 17: at San Diego State (WAC).
Oct. 19: at UC San Diego.
Oct. 24: at San Jose State (WAC).
Oct. 26: at Fresno State (WAC).
Oct. 28: at U. of San Francisco.
Nov. 2: vs. Hawaii Pacific, 5 p.m.
Nov. 5-6, 8: WAC tournament at Dallas.