Kais back in action

The Hawaii women's soccer team will attempt to create a steady offense and end a three-match winless streak against Butler and Robert Morris in the Outrigger Hotels & Resorts Shootout this week.

The three-day tournament is held at the Waipio Peninsula Soccer Park Stadium.

The Rainbow Wahine (2-4-1) have scored just eight goals in seven matches and been shut out three times. Injuries to four starters and the resulting shuffling of the lineup have contributed to the sputtering offense.

That has led to more pressure on a defense that has been forced into a bend-but-don't-break mode too often rather than attacking consistently.

The Wahine have four matches left to be ready for the Western Athletic Conference opener Oct. 7.

The good news is center midfielders Gabina Bohlman and Jessica Domingo are back. Bohlman played in the last two matches on the mainland. Domingo has been cleared to play after missing six matches.

Co-captain and all-time leading scorer Natasha Kai and sister Krisha Kai passed their fitness tests and will be available.

The bad news is freshman striker Aimee Cohen has a sprained left knee and will not suit up this week.

"We've got options. Adria Campbell may start with Natasha up top, but Adria may have to spend some time in the midfield," said UH coach Pinsoom Tenzing.

"I'm smiling that Gabina and Jessica are back. Both of them are not in top condition (coming off injuries), but they are cleared to play and we have to get them on the field to get them ready for the WAC.

"The key to our team is that big hole in the middle of the field. Jessica and Gabina are very dedicated. They want to play, but they are smart enough to monitor themselves and tell us if they are hurting."

The weekend opponents are playing UH for the first time.

The Butler Bulldogs, from Indianapolis and members of the Horizon League, are 4-4 and coming off a 1-0 win over the Dayton Flyers, who were ranked No. 32 nationally by Soccer Buzz. Two of Butler's losses were 2-1 decisions to Purdue and Indiana on goals in the last 9 minutes.

The Robert Morris Colonials, based in Moon Township, Pa., are from the Northeast League. They are 2-4 and have lost their last four matches. Sunday, the Colonials were guilty of two own goals in a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Bucknell.

"We've got our work cut out for us," said Tenzing. "We've got our best starting team back on the field, although it is not 100 percent in condition."

Tenzing also had a good thought regarding the recent road trip when the Wahine went 0-2-1.

"Those losses won't count that much against us because I think Long Beach State and UC Santa Barbara will surprise people and do well. That will help our strength of schedule."

Outrigger Hotels & Resorts Shootout

Schedule: Tomorrow, Hawaii vs. Butler, 7 p.m.; Saturday, Butler vs. Robert Morris, 5 p.m.; Sunday, Hawaii vs. Robert Morris, 5 p.m.

Where: Waipio Peninsula Soccer Park Stadium

TV: Sunday's match live on KFVE (Channel 5).

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