By MATT GERHART
Tribune-Herald sport writer
Since taking over in June, Ziggy Korytoski has tried his hardest to sell his men’s soccer program.
Now the University of Hawaii at Hilo coach has something new and tangible to offer the home fans: a winning streak.
Ikaika Fuerte scored early in Wednesday’s match in Laie, Oahu, and the Vulcans held off BYU-Hawaii 1-0.
After enduring a 20-match winless streak dating back to last season, UHH (2-7-1, 2-6-1 Pacific West Conference) won its second consecutive match and equaled its win total of last season.
“Guys are working hard, growing and buying in,” Korytoski said. “Looks like things are kind of turning.”
It comes at the perfect time.
UHH opens a season-ending five-match homestand at 12:30 p.m. Saturday against Chaminade.
The Vuls were at St. Joseph High School on Tuesday, signing autographs and giving demonstrations as part of their ongoing “Student of the Game” program. Korytoski’s No. 1 goal is community outreach, but as an added benefit he hopes students are encouraged to come to games.
A day later, UHH perhaps did an even better job of promoting itself.
After all, nothing sells like winning.
Fuerte, a sophomore, scored his second goal of the season unassisted in the sixth minute, dribbling from midfield and chipping the ball into the net from 18 yards out. Goalkeeper Yonha Adrabi and emerging center fullbacks Morgan Popp and Aaron Sanchez helped the lead stand up.
UHH had a goal disallowed later in the first half, a decision that perplexed Korytoski.
“I’m really not sure why they called it,” he said.
Adrabi was credited with nine saves. Korytoski cited Popp and Sanchez as stabilizing forces on the backline.
“About three or four of Yonha’s saves were tough chances, other than that it was pretty clean back there,” Korytoski said. “Morgan and Aaron are really coming on and doing a great job.”
Midfielder Vincent Muscarella also put pressure on the Seasiders, producing three shots.
BYU-Hawaii (3-6-1, 2-6-1) held a 17-10 advantage in shots, including five by Wil Barber. Taylor Elg hit the crossbar in the last minute of play.
The Vuls will try to make it three in a row at 12:30 p.m. Saturday at their baseball field against the Silverswords (2-8-2, 2-6-2), who eked out a 3-2 double-overtime victory against the Vulcans Sept. 17 in Honolulu.
‘The team is excited about playing at home and representing the community,” Korytoski said.
UHH 1 0 —1
BYUH 0 0 —0
BYU-Hawaii 3 women 3, UHH 2: MaKelle Yates headed in a corner kick midway through the first overtime in Laie to send the Lady Vulcans to their seventh straight loss.
“An unlucky break,” UHH coach Unity Beddingfield said. “One player got away from us and was able to capitalize. Overall, I thought we were dominating.”
UHH freshman Teisha Nacis, a Waiakea graduate, tied the match 2-2 with her second goal of the season off a Brianna Lopiccolo corner kick in the 71st minute. Kristine Pasek’s goal in the 11th minute, a header for her team-leading seventh marker of the season, was the first score for UHH (3-9, 1-8) in five matches.
The Seasiders (7-4-1, 5-3-1), who outshot the Vulcans 17-5, rallied to take a 2-1 halftime lead behind goals by Kaile Kartchner and McKenzie Evans.
Taylor Wright had an assist for UHH, which hosts Chaminade at 3 p.m. Saturday. The Vulcans have beaten the last-place Silverswords (0-12, 0-10) in two previous meetings this year by a combined 13-3.
UHH 1 1 0 —2
BYUH 2 0 1 —3