One draw. One victory. No goals allowed. That left University of Hawaii at Hilo director of soccer Lance Thompson with two results to feel good about.
Philip Sakaba’s two goals were the only scoring during 200 minutes of college soccer Wednesday in Kaneohe, Oahu, as the UHH men beat Hawaii Pacific 2-0.
‘“Without a doubt our best performance of the season,” Thompson said.
But there was more.
Earlier, the Lady Vulcans held on for 0-0 draw, taking home a point that Thompson thinks they needed to support their newfound regional ranking.
“What a great day for Vulcans soccer,” Thompson proclaimed.
Especially for Sakaba.
The senior midfielder from Mililani, Oahu, came through with his first two goals of the season as UHH (5-6-1, 3-5-1 Pacific West Conference) beat a Sea Warriors squad that entered the day with only one league loss.
In the second minute, Sakaba played a throughball from James Yamane and tapped it into the net for a quick 1-0 lead.
“We decided to come out and press early, and I’ll be darned if it didn’t work out,” Thompson said.
UHH’s only other shot on goal during the match came in the 68th minute as Sakaba one-timed a rebound off a corner kick from about 22 yards out.
“(Long shots) are not his specialty, but today was his homecoming.” Thompson said. “He chose to have his breakout, and it couldn’t have come at a better time.”
HPU (7-4-2, 5-2-1) had a 12-7 advantage in shots, but Yonha Andrabi made two saves in the shutout.
The Lady Vulcans (8-3-2, 5-3-1) were more than halfway through their match when Thompson decided to break the news of the day: UHH had been ranked fifth in the West Region poll.
At that point — and considering Hawaii Pacific’s offensive-minded approach — Thompson said everyone was in a agreement that a draw was the best course of action.
“We decided we had to walk off the field without giving up a goal to stay in the (regional) hunt,” Thompson said. “It’s a good result for us. We can get some things done at home.”
The top eight teams in the final poll will qualify for regionals.
Goalkeeper Jenna Hufford notched her seventh shutout of the season, and Thompson called the seven-save performance her best of the season.
“HPU was really impressive, but Jenna came up huge,” he said.
The Sea Warriors (5-7-1, 3-4-1) outshot UHH 19-15 and goalkeeper Anu Kahele-Manners made six saves.
UHH hosts Holy Names on Saturday. The women play at 12:30 p.m. with the men to follow at 3 p.m.