Last chance for WahineBy Al Chase
Minus two more starters and needing victories in their final two Western Athletic Conference Pacific Division matches to reach postseason play only increases the toughness of the task facing the University of Hawaii women's soccer team on its road trip.
UH plays San Jose State (7-6-1 overall, 1-2-0 WAC) tonight and Fresno State (9-7-0, 1-2-0) Sunday.
The Wahine (6-9-1 overall, 0-3-0 in conference) still have an outside chance of qualifying for the WAC tournament, but will have to do it without sophomore goalkeeper Amanda Paterson and senior sweeper Denise Tsukada.
Paterson received a concussion in the UC San Diego match last Sunday when an opposing striker hit her while Paterson was leaping to catch or deflect a cross.
"I can't remember anything about the game," Paterson said. "My teammates told me I landed on my head."
The injury isn't career-threatening, but Paterson is out for the rest of this season.
Tsukada, who was cleared to play after missing four matches with a strained medial collateral ligament in her right leg, returned to practice Tuesday, but realized she wasn't ready.
"She looked OK to me, but she came off the field in tears and said she just couldn't go hard," said UH coach Pinsoom Tenzing. "All she could do was push the ball.
"She did the most noble thing a young kid can do and told me she wasn't going on the trip and take someone's spot who was healthy.
"What's worse is this was her final road trip and her family also was going."
Tenzing will use freshman Malia Beter at the sweeper position and freshman Demarre Sanchez will be in the goal.
"The organization on defense has broken down," the UH coach said. "Our young players have stepped in and given everything, but they need experience and we don't have time to give them that."
Paterson thinks the goalkeeper's position is in good hands.
"Demarre is really good and has put pressure on me all year," Paterson said. "I'm not worried. She's competent."
Sanchez picked UH over New Mexico, Tulsa and Texas Tech because she liked the situation with the goalkeeper here.
"I knew I wouldn't start, which meant less pressure on me and it would give me a chance to learn," she said.
Sanchez started the first three matches of the season until Paterson arrived after playing for Australia's National Women's Team.
Now the job belongs to Sanchez for the rest of the season.
Conference Overall W L T Pts W L T Brigham Young 3 1 0 6 14 1 0 Utah 3 1 0 6 9 7 0 San Diego St 2 1 0 4 8 4 1 Fresno St 1 2 0 2 9 7 0 San Jose St 1 2 0 2 7 6 1 Hawaii 0 3 0 0 6 9 1Mountain Division
Conference Overall W L T Pts W L T So. Methodist 4 0 0 8 11 4 0 Air Force 2 0 1 5 7 7 1 Tulsa 2 1 1 5 9 4 2 New Mexico 2 2 0 4 11 4 0 Texas-El Paso 1 2 0 2 8 8 1 Texas Christ 1 3 0 2 7 9 0 Wyoming 0 4 0 0 1 14 0