The Hawaii women's soccer team experiences its first competition of the fall when the Wahine play the Douglas College Royals from New Westminister, British Columbia, tomorrow at Waipio Peninsula Soccer Park in a 7 p.m. exhibition match.
Wahine ready to kick-start
season of higher expectations
By Al Chase
Douglas is a two-year community college operating three campuses and serving 12,000 students in the Vancouver area.
Unlike some past seasons, Hawaii coach Pinsoom Tenzing was quite pleased with work done by the returning players over the summer. Of the 25 roster players, 18 already have passed the conditioning tests Tenzing greets the players with each fall.
"The work ethic they followed over the summer was truly the best ever. It wasn't phenomenal, but it was the best," Tenzing said.
Tenzing began fall practice a week ago thinking the Wahine might be lacking midfield speed, but he has changed his mind on that point.
"We're a very deep team and a very good team. We're all very excited about the season. You can have the best team on paper, but we have to prove ourselves out there. I told the kids a few days ago, 'You haven't done nothing yet.'," said Tenzing.
The exhibition gives the Wahine a chance to play against somebody other than themselves. It's an opportunity for the coaching staff to see how well the players are working together.
"I think we have the chance to put the first team together," said Tenzing. "It's a meshing process and it's a difficult process because of the quality of the players is so close and they are so competitive. It's going to depend on how well they play with each other ."
Tenzing has returning assistants Cathy Carey and Wendy Miyashiro and has added Josh Fouts who was the goalkeeper coach for the men and women at Gonzaga the past two years.
Fouts, who once shut out every regular-season, Oahu Interscholastic Association opponent when he was minding the space between the pipes for Kalaheo High School, could have stayed at Gonzaga, but the school wanted a three-year commitment.
"It would have meant being on the mainland for 11 consecutive years and those winters in Spokane aren't getting warmer," said Fouts. "This was a good opportunity. I miss my Gonzaga folks, but coming home is exciting."
Fouts is certified to recruit by the NCAA and is ready to put his mainland contacts to good use for the Hawaii program.
The Wahine have two walk-on players on the roster.
Jessica Uecker transferred from South Carolina where she started all 18 matches as a freshman defender for the Gamecocks. Uecker, from Rapid City, S.D., scored a goal on the only shot she took last year and was honored as USC's Freshman of the Year at the annual awards banquet.
"Jessica brought a great work ethic from mainland and she can play the game," said Tenzing.
Kelly McCloskey, a freshman defender has walked-on after winning four varsity soccer letters and being named a first-team, all-league selection her junior and senior years at Aptos High School in Santa Cruz, Calif.
"Kelly came here on an unofficial visit, on her own, but we made it official by buying her dinner. She has good credentials and is someone who can help us in the future," said Tenzing.
Notes: There is no admission charge or parking fee for Wahine home games at the Waipio Peninsula Soccer Park this year. ... Sophomore striker Tasha Hagen (Tasha Rowe last year) was married over the summer. ... Midfielder Erin Quattromani is a graduate student this year after earning her degree in biological sciences from Stanford in June. ... Goalkeeper Nichole Yoshimura, who redshirted after walking on last year, has been given her release and transferred to Sacramento State. "She has my blessings. She is a wonderful kid," said Tenzing.
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