[ UH SOCCER ]
set program mark
The Hawaii Rainbow Wahine wrapped up their best regular season in eight years of Western Athletic Conference competition with a commanding victory before 781 fans at the Waipio Peninsula Soccer Park Stadium last night.
The Wahine (13-4-1) finished league play with a 7-1 record, setting the single-season mark for wins with the 5-0 victory over the San Jose State Spartans (2-13, 1-5).
"I like the fact we won and won big," said UH coach Pinsoom Tenzing. "San Jose is a young team and their emphasis is right. They will be better in the future."
Hawaii struck for two goals early after controlling the ball and the tempo from the opening kickoff.
Joelle Sugai slipped a ball through the San Jose State defense to Natasha Kai only to have Spartan Adrienne Herbst trip the sophomore striker in the penalty box as Kai maneuvered around the sprawling goalkeeper.
Kalena Eaton took the penalty kick. Herbst blocked her shot, but Eaton drilled the rebound into the left side of the goal at 11:33.
Two minutes later, Robyn deHay sent a free kick from the corner of the penalty box on the right side toward the goal that Natalie Groenewoud, drifting in from 10 yards out from the left post, poked into the nets from 5 yards away at 13:38. It was the junior midfielder's first goal of the season.
Pam Fong, a junior striker starting in place of Arlene Devitt, who missed Saturday's practice, found the back of the net for the first time this season with a 35-yard shot from the left. Fong's drive dropped in just under the crossbar and just over Herbst's outstretched hands a foot from the right post at 26:46.
Kai scored her 14th goal of the month at 33:52 when she intercepted an ill-advised pass between SJSU defenders, sent Herbst one way with a fake, and rolled the ball across the goal line from 7 yards out with her right foot.
Except for the final three minutes of the half, when the Spartans forced two corner kicks that resulted in their lone shot on goal of the half, the Wahine dominated the first 45 minutes.
"We played relaxed, but we need to do a better job of keeping control of the ball for long periods of time," said Tenzing. "This is the end of the season and we can't afford to give away easy balls with the (WAC) tournament coming up. I would have liked to have seen a little quicker-paced game tonight."
Kai made it 15 goals in seven matches this month when she headed in a cross from Sasha Araya-Schraner 32 seconds into the second half. Kai's header from 12 yards away bounced just inside the left post beating goalkeeper Erin Lavey, who took over for Herbst to start the second half.
Hawaii's final match before the WAC tournament is against Brigham Young next Monday.
Notes: Krisha Kai suffered an ACL injury to her right leg in Friday's match against Fresno State. The freshman striker from Kahuku is done for the season. ... The shutout was the 11th of the season for UH. ... The Wahine have allowed just one goal in the last six matches.