By BILL O’Rear
Tribune-Herald sports editor
University of Hawaii at Hilo’s Lance Thompson has seen the Pacific West Conference soccer scene change dramatically over the past five years, to the point it’s one of the better leagues in NCAA Division II.
“The landscape has really changed since 2008 — going from six to 12 or 13 teams, and it’s quality competition,” said Thompson, in his first year as the UHH Director of Soccer and coaching both the Vulcan men’s and women’s teams. He earlier coached in California and played against PacWest programs.
“It’s a tough league, and for our program, it’s a learning process in order to step up and become one of the better programs.”
On Monday, Soccer 101 for Thompson’s men’s and women’s squads continued on the road with the Vulcans dropping a pair of PacWest matches at Cal Baptist in Riverside, Calif.
The host Lancers defeated the UHH men 3-2 in a hard-fought match while the Cal Baptist women overpowered the Vulcans 5-0.
“With the men, we just dug ourselves too big of an early hole,” Thompson said. “We were down 2-0 at the half and then gave up a third goal early in the second half. But our guys showed a lot of character and fight to battle back. We pulled to within 3-2 but just didn’t have enough time to make it happen.
“We did a poor job early in taking a chance in scoring opportunities. I told the guys if we get a half step in a scoring area, we’ve got to shoot. If we never shoot, we’re never going to score.”
Thomas Carter scored on a rebound at 20:17 to put Cal Baptist (3-3-1 overall, 3-2 PacWest) on the scoreboard and Alex Anderson added a goal from eight yards out to make it 2-0 at 39:07.
The Lions then stretched their lead to 3-0 on Anderson’s second goal of the match at 48:17.
The Vulcans (3-3-0, 1-2) responded late in the contest with goals from Thomas Murphy (85:23, off an assist from Darwin Ortiz) and David Robinson (89:16, unassisted).
“We’ve just got to find a way to stop losing one-goal matches,” Thompson said.
Joey Pacheco (89:01) and Ian Clark (:59) played in goal for Cal Baptist. Pacheco allowed both UHH goals and recorded three saves. Vulcan goalie Yonha Andrabi went the full 90 minutes, giving up the three goals to go along with two saves.
The Lancers outshot UHH 18-14 on goal, including 10-5 in the first half.
• Cal Baptist 5, UHH 0: Kelly Jenks, Rachel Witz, Kristen Witchey, Kimberly Allard and Lauren Wallberg each scored a goal to lead the balanced Lancers (5-4-0, 4-1) over the Vulcans (4-2-1, 1-2).
“It was a matter of bigger, stronger, faster and more experience,” Thompson said. “Cal Baptist was just the better team. When we play quality teams, we’ve got to play almost perfect or we’re in trouble.
“Cal Baptist is the two-time defending champion. They’re all business, a very established program. But all of this is a great learning experience for us, to see where we want to go.”
Jenks scored her goal early in the match and the Lancers carried the 1-0 lead into the intermission. But the margin quickly grew to 4-0 in the second half on goals from Witchey (47:36), Allard (48:28) and Witz (50:10). Wallberg then capped the scoring outburst with a 20-yard goal at 74:50 to make it 5-0.
Cal Baptist goalies Rosie Nakata (59:59) and Leigh Ann Lindsey (30:01) combined on the shutout. Both had a save.
UHH goalie Jenna Hufford went the distance and allowed five goals to go along with five saves.
The Lancers outshot the Vulcans on goal 25-5, including 14-3 in the second half.
“It’s been a tough trip, an eye-opening experience for us against good competition,” Thompson said. “Take nothing away from Cal Baptist, they have an established program and highly successful coaches. But we’re excited about the challenge ahead to build our program in the right way.”
The Vulcans opened their four-match roadtrip with losses at Point Loma Nazarene on Saturday. The host Lions defeated the UHH women 3-0 and the Vulcan men 1-0.
The UHH teams play at Azusa Pacific on Thursday, then close the roadtrip with matches at Dixie State in St. George, Utah.
After returning to Hilo, the Vulcan teams host Fresno Pacific in PacWest matches Oct. 12.
Vulcan golfers 6th
The UHH men’s golf team is in sixth place heading into today’s final round of the Golfweek Fall Invitational D-II in Bend, Ore.
The first 36 holes were played Monday.
Vulcan Dalen Yamauchi (78-82) is tied for third place, after shooting a 6-over-par 150.
Also competing for UHH with first round scores are: Chris Shimomura (T-15th, 80-75—155), Corey Kozuma (T-36th, 80-79-159), Kyeton Littel (T40th, 81-79—160) and Christian Agosto (T-72nd, 88-84—172).
The Vulcans turned in a 624 team score.
Cal State Monterey Bay holds a 26-stroke lead over Dallas Baptist in the 15-team tournament with a 14-over-par 590 through 36 holes.
“The weather is brutally cold, with rain,” UHH coach Earl Tamiya said.