By MATT GERHART
Tribune-Herald sports writer
One by one, University of Hawaii at Hilo women’s soccer players trudged off of the field in pain and headed to the trainers’ table. One by one, they got patched up again and gamely headed back on to the pitch.
“Our most physical match of the season,” UHH coach Unity Beddingfield said of Saturday’s encounter against Fresno Pacific. “But our girls keep fighting and tried to pull through.”
The Lady had the will, but the Sunbirds had the way.
Demi Hamilton scored in the 76th minute to lift Fresno Pacific to a 1-0 victory in a Pacific West Conference women’s soccer match before more than 300 fans at UHH baseball field.
The Vulcans were unveiling a pair of first-year coaches on opening day at their new home, but league-newcomer Fresno Pacific spoiled the festivities.
Earlier in the men’s match, Fresno State ran away for a 6-0 victory
Trying to avoid a third scoreless draw this season, Hamilton finally gave the Sunbirds (1-3-2, 1-1-1 PacWest) the finish they were looking for to give the program its first league victory as it kicked off a four-match Hawaii road trip.
Inserted back into the match in the 59th minute, Hamilton, the team’s leading scorer last season, lobbed a ball over Breegan Saller from about 25 yards out in what was only her team’s fourth goal of the season.
“It a no-brainer to say we fell privileged to be in Hawaii,” Fresno Pacific coach Erik Farfan said. “But ever since we signed those declaration forms on the plane ride over, we told the team this was about business, not a vacation. But it’s great be here.”
UHH (3-3, 1-2) played part of the match without leading scorer Kristine Pasek. The sophomore forward and freshman Teisha Nacis both had to leave the match to have pre-existing injuries rewrapped.
The Vulcans were outshot 5-3 what turned into a battle of attrition. Teal Basquez registered the only shot on goal, and Sarah King got the shutout.
“I think we showed we aregoing to be a force to be reckoned with,” Beddingfield said. “We had some chances, and we’ll build on this.”
Fresno Pacific 6, UHH men 0: The Sunbirds frustrated the Vulcans for 80 minutes, then put on a four-goal clinic in a game-ending barrage.
Paul Islas netted a hat trick, including a goal in the 81st minute that gave the Sunbirds (3-3, 1-2) a 3-0 lead and seemingly took the fight out of the Vuls.
“(Islas) is a future Major League Soccer player,” UHH coach Ziggy Korytoski said. “That team is better then its record. We had some chances to score, and if we capitalize, maybe we start to believe. But that third goal took away the belief, and that’s what disappointing.
“The reality is we just don’t have the horses right now.”
UHH (0-4, 0-3), which has scored only three goals this season, was outshot 11-1 (on goal) as Fresno Pacific players ran unmarked at goalkeeper Yonha Adrabi.
Nick Watson have Fresno Pacific a 2-0 lead early in the second half and Alvaro Nogales and Fabrico Nazare added goals. Fabian Rangel earned the shutout.
The men’s and women’s teams return to action Tuesday at home against Notre Dame de Namur. The me kickoff at 12:30 p.m. followed by the women at 3 p.m.