By KEVIN JAKAHI
Tribune-Herald sports writer
The University of Hawaii at Hilo men’s team won not one but two games — with the latter a non-scoring affair maybe more important, in the long term, than the actual contest against a highly emotional Chaminade squad.
For the record, the Vulcans edged the Silverswords 2-1 in a non-conference game on Saturday afternoon under sauna-like conditions at the neatly mowed UHH baseball field, now designated for soccer.
James Yamane, a little guy at 5 feet 5 but with big eyes to see the field, zoomed into open space on a breakaway, after a Chaminade turnover, and blasted in a score 40 seconds into the game for the Vulcans (1-1-1), who took only three shots on goal but made two chances count.
Later in the game, Yamane made a bounce pass into open space — no one was near the ball — then a teammate came in, caught it on the ground, and misfired. But the plays, both running on a ball and scoring, and dribbling and passing, showed that Yamane has picked up first-year coach Lance Thompson’s philosophy of direct soccer.
Direct soccer can be translated as boom ball, going long to score, instead of the old-fashioned, pass-possession-patience style that requires ball-handlers to not only string together sharp passes, but the vision to find tight creases for strikers running onto a ball. That style usually works best at European professional football clubs. Thompson took that playbook and punted it into Hilo Bay.
The best example of Thompson’s direct approach came at the 28-minute mark when Anthony Novella, dribbling near midfield, blasted a long, diagonal pass that found the foot of Thomas Murphy, who showed pretty fine technical soccer skills. He trapped the ball, and one-timed it into the net for a 2-0 lead. Never mind that his defender got turned around like spinning toy looking for the ball, getting away from goal-side defense (being directly between striker and goalie).
The Silverswords (0-3) scored 10 minutes later, after a restart when UHH goalie Yonha Andrabi muffed a ball and Tristan Hall pounced on the mistake. Thompson didn’t pin the blame on his senior keeper. Instead he noted that it was a team mistake, not remembering the club’s core motto.
“We want to be first to the ball and on that restart they got to the ball first,” he said. “That’s our guiding principle, especially when the ball is by our side of the goal. They did and they get credit.”
The match entered halftime with a 2-1 score in favor of the hometown team. But that doesn’t mean there weren’t fireworks in the second half. Rather than scoring action, it was a card show with referee Frank Purrell flashing yellow and red colors.
UHH’s Scott Hill was issued a yellow card in the first half. Chaminade’s Jose Carranza also got flagged for yellow in the first 45 minutes. Then it was second-half card time on Chaminade with yellows for Marcus Kuhns, and one on Hall at the 40:40 mark, another three minutes later and a subsequent red card at the 43:27 mark.
“I definitely felt we did a good job keeping our composure in a tough situation,” Thompson said. “Since I got here our theme has been be disciplined and organized. Control what we can control, and we did that today. Some games go like that, chippy games, and we did that, keeping our composure.
“It was two Hawaii schools and they’re competitive. It was a tough game and it could have gone either way. Any time you can string together a win with a tie, after a loss that’s what good team do. In the San Bernardino game (2-0 loss), we made silly mistakes and got punished for it. But we controlled the controllables and didn’t beat ourselves. That was the key today.”
CU 1 0 — 1
UHH 2 0 — 4
• UHH 4, Chaminade 1: Kristine Pasek, Lauren Grace-Finley, Lindsey Poulsen and Rheanna Perez each scored giving the Vulcans (3-0-1) balanced scoring against the Silverswords (0-3), the Pacific West Conference doormat with 0-15-1 and 1-16 records the last two years.
Twyla Hamasaki scored on a penalty kick with 11 minutes remaining, ruining freshman goalie Jenna Hufford’s shutout bid. All of the scores were in the second half. That made for an exciting final 45 minutes for those 127 fans in attendance who arrived late.
“It’s good to have four different goal scorers. It’s definitely rewarding,” Thompson said. “It took a while for us to score. We didn’t’ rely on one person. That’s ideal for any coach. Our backline of Taylor (Wright), Alexandra (Marin), Kassandra (Talamantez) and Dani (Llacuna) have been organized and disciplined the entire season.
“Both teams are willing to accept a new philosophy and they’re coachable. They get all the credit.”
CU 0 1 — 1
UHH 0 4 — 4