Rainbow Wahine to be
without both Kais on
first road trip
The Hawaii soccer team's first road trip has the Rainbow Wahine playing three matches in California.
They begin with Weber State in the third annual 49er Classic hosted by Long Beach State tomorrow. The Wahine play the 49ers on Monday, then end the trip with a nonconference match at UC Santa Barbara on Wednesday.
Hawaii is without all-time leading scorer senior striker Natasha Kai and junior defender Krisha Kai. Neither has passed required fitness tests.
"That is pretty pathetic," said Natasha Kai.
"We will do the best we can. Obviously, our offense is predicated on how well Natasha plays, but there are other responsibilities I have to take care of," said UH coach Pinsoom Tenzing. "This will be better for them and for the team in the long run."
Tenzing experimented with different combinations in practice Tuesday and Wednesday before the team left for the mainland yesterday afternoon.
Freshman striker Aimee Cohen of Penngrove, Calif., has seen considerable playing time and she could be matched up with two other freshmen, Taryn Fukuroku from Maui High School and Waiakea's Elizabeth Brauher.
That trio, none of whom are taller than 5-foot-3, need to use their speed and quickness. Their teammates need to make accurate passes on the ground. The high-ball game to Natasha Kai is not available.
Sophomore Koren Takeyama could move up from the back line and junior Adria Campbell could play up top, but more likely will be in the midfield to distribute the ball.
The Wahine will not have center midfielder Jessica Domingo (sprained left knee), but the other center midfielder, Gabina Bohlman, has been cleared to make the trip. Bohlman won't play against Weber State, but could be available for the last two matches.
If Takeyama moves up, then freshman Tehane Higa (Aiea) will start in the back.
"We need to fight hard as a team. We are going with a great deal of handicap," said Tenzing. "All I want them to do is show well, stick to the game plan like they did against Brigham Young regardless of whether we win or lose. This will help team morale and help us going into the WAC."
The 49ers, picked to finish third in the Big West Conference, lost their first match to defending national champion UCLA 3-0, then blanked San Jose State 4-0 and Idaho St. 1-0.
Yesterday, the 49ers opened the Classic with their third consecutive shutout, 1-0 over Weber State on Elizabeth Romo's goal in the 79th minute.
The Wahine beat the 49ers 1-0 last year at the Waipio Peninsula Soccer Park on an unassisted goal by Natasha Kai early in the second half.
"Long Beach is a different team. They had a huge recruiting season and start eight freshmen and three sophomores," said Tenzing.
"Weber State is always tough. UC Santa Barbara is traditionally a strong program, one of the oldest on the West Coast."
The Wildcats, picked to finish second in the Big Sky Conference, opened with a 3-2 win over Utah Valley State, then lost to Arizona State 5-2 and Brigham Young 5-1.
UC Santa Barbara plays Rutgers and Villanova in the adidas Classic at the University of Maryland this weekend. The Gauchos have been shut out by Central Florida, St. Mary's (Calif.) and California since beating Fresno State 2-1 in their season opener.
UH leads the series with the 49ers 2-0-1 and the Wildcats 3-2. The Wahine and Gauchos have split four matches.