Kai sisters team up
to give UH a season-
The Kai sisters provided the offense and the rebuilt Hawaii defense played a solid match as the Rainbow Wahine soccer team opened the season with a tough 2-1 victory over the George Mason Patriots.
Natasha Kai's 58th career goal provided UH with a 1-0 lead early in the second half, but it was Krisha Kai's goal at 6:12 of the first overtime period that gave UH its first season-opening win since 2001.
That satisfied the 1,352 fans who watched the opener of the OHANA Hotels & Resorts No Ka Oi tournament at the Waipio Peninsula Soccer Park Stadium last night. The Patriots play Brigham Young in the second match of the tournament tonight at 7. The final match is Monday, when UH and BYU play at 5 p.m.
Krisha Kai, who is part of the new UH back line, moved forward as Adria Campbell took a corner kick from the left side.
"Before the kick, Tash told me to stay down and this time I listened to her," Krisha Kai said.
Natasha Kai headed the ball down and her sister flicked it into the net with her right foot from 5 yards out. It was her fifth career goal.
Two minutes into the overtime period, Hawaii had a chance to score, but Natasha Kai's half-field breakaway was thwarted by George Mason goalkeeper Olivia Brown, who dove and deflected her shot wide right.
"We didn't play well in terms of our passing and the spacing of our players. We used too many long balls and missed on too many chances (to score)," UH coach Pinsoom Tenzing said. "I'm concerned about the spacing because too many times the second attacker wasn't there."
The teams swapped midfield control for the first 6:42 before George Mason's Jessica Paris got the first shot of the season off from 20 yards -- it sailed wide left.
Natasha Kai threaded a through ball to Gabina Bohlman at 12:09 only to have Brown prevent UH's first shot with a sliding stop.
Natasha Kai's header off Adria Campbell's corner kick 2 minutes later was a foot over the crossbar. Bohlman's shot from 25 yards out at an open goal over a diving Brown was wide right at 22:37.
Campbell sent Natasha Kai on a breakaway at 30:43, but the senior's shot past a diving Brown rolled just outside the right post. Jessica Domingo dropped a chip behind the defense for Natasha Kai at 34:33, but this time her shot was wide left.
The Rainbow Wahine outshot the Patriots 7-4 in the first half, but none of UH's shots were credited with being on goal. UH freshman goalkeeper Kori Lu had to save two of George Mason's four shots.
The Patriots pressured for the first 14 minutes of the second half, forcing three corner kicks, but were unable to take advantage.
A two-pass setup from Domingo to Koren Takeyama, who was racing up from the back line, to Natasha Kai created UH's first opportunity in the second half, but Natasha Kai's left-footer from just inside the box was wide right.
She finally found the net at 64:08.
Domingo controlled a ball deep in her half. She sent a long, low pass to Natasha Kai, who was 15 yards on the offensive half of the field. The ball split two GMU defenders. Natasha Kai ran the ball down, faked a shot with her right foot, pulled the ball back, stepped to the left and put it past Brown with a left-footer.
Lu's quick reactions saved a goal in the 76th minute. Danielle MacDonald crossed on the ground from the left wing and Sarah Fack, standing 8 yards off the line, one-touched the ball with her right foot. The shot angled up, but Lu got a hand on the shot and flipped the ball over the crossbar.
MacDonald evened the score at 1-1 at 82:18 with a corner kick that swerved in despite Lu's attempt to fist the ball over the bar.